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Lyssa
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PostSubject: Beastiary Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:03 pm

Animal metaphors.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*


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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:04 pm

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Nietzsche wrote:
"Vita femina. - Not even all knowledge and all good will suffice for seeing the ultimate beauties of a work; it requires the rarest of lucky accidents for the clouds that veil the peaks to lift for us momentarily and for the sun to shine on them. Not only must we stand in just the right spot to see this, but our own soul, too, must itself have pulled the veil from its heights and must have been in need of some external expression and parable, as if it needed a hold in order to retain control of itself. But so rarely does all of this coincide that I am inclined to believe that the highest peaks of everything good, be it work, deed, humanity, or nature, have so far remained hidden and covered from the majority and even from the best. But what does unveil itself for us  unveils itself for us only once! The Greeks, to be sure, prayed: 'Everything beautiful twice and thrice!

Indeed, they had good reason to summon the gods, for ungodly reality gives us the beautiful either never or only once! I mean to say that the world is brimming with beautiful things but nevertheless poor, very poor in beautiful moments and in the unveilings of those things. But perhaps that is the strongest magic of life: it is covered by a veil of beautiful possibilities, woven with threads of gold - promising, resisting, bashful, mocking, compassionate, and seductive. Yes, life is a woman!" [JW, 339]


- - -


The eagle moves far above the hustle and the bustle and dives straight to the point. From the eye of the sovereign bird, the necessity of everything appears as a beautiful order. Above man and the sensation of time, every disgust and acute cruelties of existence is anti-oxidized into a graceful affirmation. It is highly counter-intuitive. The feeling is one of spatial protraction, vast expanse and freedom. The cold and distant Apollo with clear gaze near the heat of the sun.

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The snake slithers seductively close to earth. It is pure confrontation and a test of one's digestive capacity. Details feed into heightened sensations. Intimate contact cannot but breed hatred and poison, which it brews to attack and defend. Clever cunning evolves, and with it, subtle landscapes vibrate into awareness. Details are compressed and naturalized into deep instincts. Every nausea is stilled and distilled into secretions of potent wisdom. It is highly intuitive. The feeling is one of durational protraction, timelessness and eternity. Fiery Shiva-dionysos holding the burning poison in his throat in cool green forests.

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Here is where N.'s Zarathustra remarks,

Quote :
"...behold! An eagle swept through the air in wide circles, and on it hung a serpent, not like a prey, but like a friend: for it kept itself coiled round the eagle’s neck.

"They are mine animals,” said Zarathustra, and rejoiced in his heart.

"The proudest animal under the sun, and the wisest animal under the sun — they have come out to reconnoitre.

"Would that I were wiser! Would that I were wise from the very heart, like my serpent!

But I am asking the impossible. Therefore do I ask my pride to go always with my wisdom!

And if my wisdom should some day forsake me:— alas! it loveth to fly away!– -may my pride then fly with my folly!"

Thus began Zarathustra’s down-going." [TSZ, Prologue, 10]

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Without earthly wisdom, the eagle may take flight into madness - simulacra and the surreal disconnection of noumenon from phenonmenon. And without soaring pride, the snake may stagnate and paralyze with gravity - dialectics and the hyperreal collapse of noumenon with phenomenon.

Thus the medicine man was represented with the Caduceus staff of a winged-serpent:

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The kundalini diagramatics is a parallel development of the same; and later the American adoption of the Fascist double-axe as second Rome.

Corn, Fasces, and the Caduceus; Norbanus, Rome, 83 B.C. representing the three castes; the Fasces was the warrior equivalent to the priestly Caduceus and the farmer's 'corn-blade' perhaps.

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But as Nietzsche says in the first excerpted,

"Not even all knowledge and all good will suffice for seeing the ultimate beauties of a work; it requires the rarest of lucky accidents for the clouds that veil the peaks to lift for us momentarily and for the sun to shine on them. Not only must we stand in just the right spot to see this, but our own soul, too, must itself have pulled the veil from its heights and must have been in need of some external expression and parable, as if it needed a hold in order to retain control of itself. But so rarely does all of this coincide..."


Beyond knowledge [snake] and good-will [eagle], one needs luck. Swiftness of lightning to quickly grasp what shows when the veils briefly open...

Nietzsche wrote:
"I approach deep problems such as I do cold baths: fast in, fast out.

That this is no way to get to the depths, to get deep  enough, is the superstition of those who fear water, the enemies of cold water; they speak without experience. Oh, the great cold makes one fast! And incidentally: does a matter stay unrecognized, not understood, merely because it has been touched in flight; is only glanced at, seen in a flash?

Does one absolutely have to sit firmly on it first? Have brooded on it as on an egg?  Diu noctuque incubando, as Newton said of himself? At least there are truths that are especially shy and ticklish and can't be caught except suddenly - that one must  surprise or leave alone." [JW, 381]


One needs to be a magic horse.

Sleipnir with 8 feet means being able to ride and conduct oneself zig-zag with one feet in the region of the snakes and one feet in the realm of the eagles...

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To ride and balance oneself on such a horse, one needs to have the Furor of Odin. Such knowledge will inevitably be one of inspired madness, as terrible as it is beautiful.

In other words, only the one with the agility of the swift-footed horse can manage the 'magic' of metaphors and kennings and its incredible web of links without falling into the surreal or the hyperreal madness. One stays grounded in both worlds.

Plato and the Vedics conceptualized the art and science of wisdom through the metaphor of horses.

The Rig Veda and Homer's Illiad hold the horse and the skill of horse-riding in high esteem; to win and possess prowess at the chariot race meant more than the literal prize and physical skill, but meant he was also a winner of the worlds, a 'sun-winner'.

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Asko Parpola's fantastic [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] on this aspect of the proto-Aryan religion has more on this.  

If one understands the pathos for those rare moments when life's veil parts and one catches a world shine forth, that N. suffers lamenting the world is rich yet so poor in such beautiful moments, one understands the imploration of the Rig Vedic poets to be blessed with the best and swiftest horses...

Quote :
"Do thou, O Indra, give us hope of beauteous horses and of kine,
In thousands, O most wealthy One.
Hero, let hostile spirits sleep, and every gentler genius wake:
Do thou, O Indra, give us hope of beauteous horses and of kine,
In thousands, O most wealthy One.
Destroy this ass, O Indra, who in tones discordant brays to thee:
Do thou, O Indra, give us hope of beauteous horses and of kine,
In thousands, O most wealthy One.
Far distant on the forest fall the tempest in a circling course!
Do thou, O Indra, give us hope of beauteous horses and of kine,
In thousands, O most wealthy One.
Slay each reviler, and destroy him who in secret injures us:
Do thou, O Indra, give us hope of beauteous horses and of kine
In thousands, O most wealthy One." [RV, 1.29]

Quote :
"Maruts on your strong-hoofed, never-wearying steeds go after those bright ones, which are still locked up. May your fellies be strong, the chariots, and their horses, may your reins be well-fashioned. Speak forth forever with thy voice to praise the Lord of prayer, Agni, who is like a friend, the bright one. Fashion a hymn in thy mouth! Expand like the cloud! Sing a song of praise. Worship the host of the Maruts, the terrible, the glorious, the musical. May they be magnified here among us."


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Quote :
"Know the Self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect the charioteer, and the mind the reins. The senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When the Self is in union with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise people call him the Enjoyer." [Katha Up., 1.3.3-4]

The Vedic creation hymn in Brihad. Up. 1, sees the world as a horse-sacrifice, and the Homeric epithet for the Furious Achilles is "swift-footed".

I.E. Linguistics show the metaphors of eagle, horse, arrow, dog/wolf and thus mind of the inspired poet, were all connected with the epithet for swiftness, *hrgi-pio-.

Interesting is the fact, while the westward I.E. warrior culture adopted the berserker cult of the wolf or bear head,,, the eastward I.E. priestly culture Indo-Iran, Armenia, Scythians till Mongolia... etc. adopted the Madhu-vidya mead-rite of the horse head or wearing the "sun-head".

The power to handle kennings and metaphors and rich complexes is also one reason why according to Arthur Woodruff, the true "Vira" or the Tantric adept could enjoy the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of sense gratifications both as a left-hand path - literally as the wine, meat, fish, grain, sex and indulging in the same as a right-hand path - thus, nectar of wisdom, charming speech [i.e. persuasion and sophistry], breath control or flexibility, composure, and hieros gamos.

Consider finally why the horse-shoe in the shape of the Omega was considered among the pagans, a lucky talisman as a protection against "lightnings" and,
"The cup-like shape of the horse shoe is the perfect shape to hold in luck and make sure that it doesn't spill out".  

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Is it only a coincidence Nietzsche went mad seeing a horse beaten, and not some other beast??

If the eagle-spirit represents will and heightened consciousness and the snake-body represents intellect and the deep sub-conscious, then the horse-soul represents passion and the veil of the unconscious, the hidden sun - perhaps why, the ancients could speak of soul wanderings and of being taken over by near-real night-Mares. And Jung's essay on Wotan described the archetype of his furor in terms of atavistic dry river-beds breaking open 'suddenly' from 'nowhere'.

"And still o'er many a neighboring door
She saw the horse-shoe's curvèd charm." [Whittier, The Witch's Daughter]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:06 pm

Polyps

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Quote :
"Abraham Trembley's dis­covery that polyps were not plants but animals spawned an intense period of polyp research. A key discovery was that a polyp cut into pieces became as many polyps. Some creatures can regenerate particular organs (think of a lizard and its tail); the polyp is truly autogenetic. While polyps piously require eight days for their acts of (re)creation, the materialists were less reli­ gious. As Lange puts it in his History of Materialism: "The polyp cut up by Trembley had in itself the causes of its reproduction. Only ignorance of natu­ ral forces has made us take refuge in a God." The polyp killed more than God.

According to some materialists' not unproblematic reasoning, the pol­ yp's self-regenerative ability demonstrated that the soul could not be "in" the head or heart as previously believed and that it was divisible and hence material. Although several philosophers discuss the lowly polyp and its role in such divine metaphysical thinking, none relied on it more than La Met­trie, who used polyps repeatedly in his Machine Man. While Nietzsche may not have read La Mettrie's works directly, Lange mentions him over two dozen times and in all three volumes of his History of Materialism and even devotes an entire chapter to him. Given Nietzsche's praise and multiple read­ ings of Lange's study, it is almost certain that he was familiar with La Met­trie's thought.

Mindful, then, of the little creature's philosophical might, Nietzsche uses the polyp as an analogy for the psyche in his revolutionary project to achieve "the autosuppression [Selbstau.fhebung] of morals" (D Preface 4).

Nietzsche states his polyp psychology in a few sentences: "Every moment of our lives sees some of the polyp-arms of our being grow and others wither, all according to the nutriment that the moment does or does not bear with it. [. . .] And as a consequence of this chance nourishment of the parts, the whole, fully grown polyp will be something just as accidental as its growth as been" (D 119). On this account, the psyche is polyp-like, with each polyp arm representing a drive. Experience washes over the tentacles, accidentally nourishing some while others "will be neglected and starved to death" (D 119). Nietzsche gives a homey example ofhow this plays out in everyday life. He lists six different responses to hearing someone laugh at us as we pass by, ranging from "think[ing] about what is ridiculous per se" to being "pleased at having involuntarily contributed to add a ray of sunshine and mirth to the world" (D 119). That people respond differently to being laughed at is due to different polyp arms being nourished. For example, the person who responds by trying "to pick a quarrel on account of it" is so doing because his combativeness tentacle happened upon the event. The Pollyannaish response is explained similarly: it was the polyp arm of benevolence that was nourished.

Another consequence of one polyp arm being nourished by a particular event is that none of the other tentacles are. This in tum means that the nourished tentacle will grow while the others will wither. If one polyp arm repeatedly seized all the nourishment, it would come to dominate while the others would become feeble and eventually die. A similar fate awaits the ten­ tacle denied an opportunity to discharge its strength. After "a few days or a few months of non-gratification, it will wither away like a plant that has not been watered" (D 1 19).
If either circumstance occurred, people would soon become the psychological equivalents of the inverse cripples of Zarathustra ("On Redemption"), always becoming combative, benevolent, and so on. Elsewhere in Daybreak, Nietzsche uses the example of the drive for pity. ''Supposing that it [pity] prevailed, even if only for one day, it would bring humanity to utter ruin" (D 134). Fortunately, only the hungerdrive requires something real. Our other polyp arms are content with "imaginary dishes." While the interpretive freedom afforded by dreams are the polyp arms' smor­ gasbords, waking life offers only slightly lighter fare. Either way, events are interpreted so as to nourish the other polyp arms.

In other words, the question is not "Are we really polyps, psychologically speaking?" but "Does adopting Nietzsche's polyp perspective improve our lives?"

The answer is to be found in the history of morals. For most of human history, actions were grouped into altruistic and free, on the one hand, and egoistic and unfree, on the other. On the basis of this "supposed and profound intrinsic difference" (D 148) we valued the first kind of actions more, so they were performed more frequently. Ifwe accept Nietzsche's polyp psychology, we must abandon this distinction. As this error and its related mistakes gradually lose their habitual hold, we will come to prefer to act as we have wanted to all along, namely egoistically. This in tum means that life itself will no longer be viewed as evil. The polyp will undo the original sin that the serpent brought us. This auto-suppression of morals is the broader and distant political goal ofDaybreak Book II. Since this will take a long time to happen, there must be some egoistic reason for the individual to begin to act this way.

In addition to its ethicopolitical value, this polyp psychology seems imma­ nently practical in the quest for self-improvement. Indeed, earlier in Day­ break, Nietzsche gives an exhaustive list of six strategies for "combating the vehemence of a drive" (D 109). The list includes avoidance-what we would now call aversion therapy-and negative association, among others. This list gives no clear indication that beliefs are involved at all. All the techniques, perhaps save aversion therapy, work in training non-human animals, animals bereft of beliefs. It is as if the rational self needs to train the non-rational body. Nietzsche ends this section, however, by radically distancing himself from this Platonic-Cartesian assertion:

"[T]hat one desires to combat the vehemence of a drive at all, however, does not stand within our own power; nor does the choice of any particular method; nor does the success or failure of this method. What is clearly the case is that in this entire procedure our intellect is only the blind instrument of another drive which is a rival of the drive whose vehemence is tormenting us. [. . .] While 'we' believe we are complaining about the vehemence of a drive, at bottom it is one drive that is complaining about another; that is to say: for us to become aware that we are suffering from the vehemence of a drive presupposes the existence of another equally vehe­ ment or even more vehement drive, and that a struggle is impending in which our intellect is going to have to take sides." (D 109)

This leaves Nietzsche in much the same place as Hume was in, given that they broadly agree that reason is the slave of the passions. On Nietzsche's account, reason is only the tool of some drive trying to quell another. This reduces reasoning to rationalizing. One way to think about what this means for philosophy is to say that it shifts the topos of philosophy from truth to health ( in the broadest sense ) .  

The intellect is a disposition or configuration of the drives toward each other. This view has two things to recommend it. First, it explains why humans have identified the self with the intellect for so long. Second, it explains why Hume could never find his self, only various passions or drives. Just as the polyp has no definite parts (in the sense that a trunk severed from its arms will regenerate new arms and the "old" arms a new trunk), the intellect is not different from the drives; it is not their overlord.

My self, then, is a collection of drives, each having a disposition toward the others and each vying for domination over the others. The project of self-improvement can be thought of as continuously shifting allegiances among the drives. Some combinations allow for the greater exercise of vari­ ous drives and so for the flourishing of the whole, while other combinations are lethal, as shown previously. There is some combination (or combina­ tions) of drives that allows for the individual's maximal flourishing. Finding this disposition is the project of becoming who you are. The value of Nietz­sche's polyp psychology is that it recasts the role of the self, intellect, or soul in the project of self-improvement, the quintessential philosophical project. The intellect is not the conductor of the drives but rather an indicator of the extent to which they are acting harmoniously. How to read our intellectual mood, and how to overcome the decadence that corrupts our readings, is the task of Nietzsche's later works, especially Ecce Homo'.

The value of this now is that it allows for moods to be philosophically important. Before Nietzsche, morality was considered apart from or despite moods. At best, being ill-dis­ posed toward a particular action only added to its pedigree. Nonetheless, the pessimism ("skepticism" seems more accurate, but Nietzsche writes "pessi­mism" in his preface) that Daybreak engenders, especially in Book 2, can help us take a first step toward flourishing; namely, to achieve "the autosup­ pression [Selbstaufhebung] of morals" (D Preface 4). Reshaping the task of philosophy is certainly a remarkable achievement, and it probably explaiqs why Nietzsche, when looking back on Daybreak in Ecce Homo, sees not his former polyp self but a sea monster (Seegethier) (EH "Books" D 1 ). But what is a hydra but a mythologized polyp?" [Acampora, A Nietzschean Bestiary]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:36 am

Dog, Domestication and the Ego


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Quote :
"In Zarathustra's "On the Vision and the Riddle," three animals-a spider, a snake, and a dog-make significant appearances, as do three human or quasi­ human figures-Zarathustra himself, the dwarf known as the Spirit of Grav­ity, and the shepherd who must bite off the head of the snake. Of these ani­ mals, it is the dog who receives the most extended attention. Here, in the passage that along with "The Convalescent" (with its eagle and serpent) is usually and rightly taken to be Nietzsche's most articulate and yet highly veiled approach to explaining the teaching of eternal recurrence, the rid­ dling vision involves animals. This is scarcely the only passage in Nietzsche to deal with the figure of the dog, although it is the one in which the dog has the most active role; frequently the name of the animal appears only in figurative speech. Here, even if the entire passage is a figure for the meaning of recurrence, the dog is as lively and noisy within the text as any of the other protagonists. Unfolding the vision and the riddle, or perhaps at least discovering what questions it asks, requires a confrontation with the figures of the animals and that howling dog. The parallel passage in The Gay Science (341) includes a demon rather than a dwarf and a spider spinning in the moonlight but no dog and no shepherd choked by a snake. Let us note, before proceeding further, that of all these animals, it is only the dog who is domesticated in the "real world. " Eagles and serpents may speak in fairy tales (or at the beginning of Genesis), but they are fundamentally without lan­ guage, although we suspect that the style of a dog's whining and whimpering and perhaps its howling may have something to do with its domestication.

The need for a more subtle exploration of the role of the animal in the pre­ sentation of the thought of recurrence emerges when we realize that nowhere in Nietzsche's published writings is the teaching ever articulately affirmed by a human voice; yet in the two chapters of Zarathustra just mentioned, its dra­ matic presentation is staged with diverse animals. The discussion of recur­rence in "On the Vision and the Riddle" reaches a turning point when the Marchen-like dwarf has just "murmured contemptuously 'All truth is crooked; time itself is a circle.'" Zarathustra's reply to this reductionistic oversimplification is to pose a series of questions with very little in the way of affirmation, his last question being "must we not eternally return?" But he tells his audience-the searchers, researchers, and guessers of riddles-that with such questions his voice became increasingly soft, for he was afraid of his own thoughts and the thoughts behind them.

It is with this cessation of the voice that suddenly I heard a dog howl nearby. Had I ever heard a dog howl like this? My thoughts raced back. Yes, when I was a child, in the most distant moment of child­ hood: then I heard a dog howl like this. And I saw him too, bristling, his head up, trembling, in the stillest moonlight, when even dogs believe in ghosts-and I took pity: for just then the full moon, silent as death, passed over the house; just then it stood still, a round glow-still on the flat roof, as if on another's property-that was why the dog was terrified, for dogs believe in thieves and ghosts. And when I heard such howling again I took pity again.

On one level this records an experience of deja vu. Zarathustra sees and hears a dog howling just as he did when he was a small child. It does not seem to be an identical repetition of the same experience, for the dog of childhood memory howled as the moon rose over a house; here there is no house and the moon had already risen, for the spider was spinning its web in the moon­ shine ( although since we are dealing with the comparison of a vision and an early childhood memory recollected within that vision, we must be cautious when speaking of identity and comparison).

So far the dog is just a marker of such an experience, an experience that might indicate the possibility of a stricter form of recurrence, one that might require great courage and resolu­tion to comprehend and internalize. But what is a dog, this domesticated animal, that whimpers, whines, and howls, believes in ghosts and thieves, bristles and trembles? Does the dog tell us something about the human ego, its breeding and training? In a note for Zarathustra, Nietzsche writes: "And wherever I climb, my dog follows me everywhere; he is called 'ego' " (KSA 10:4[188]). We imagine ourselves as sovereign individuals who train the lesser animals. In fact when we "train" dogs, we ourselves are being trained to be dog trainers and owners (as anybody who has been to obedience school with their pet can testify). The ego too is something that has been bred, appearing first in the herd. Zarathustra is quite clear, by the way, about seeing early humans as herd animals rather than pack animals such as dogs:

The delight in the herd is more ancient than the delight in the ego [Ich]; and as long as the good conscience is identified with the herd, only the bad conscience says: I [Ich]. . . . Verily, the clever ego, the loveless ego that desires its own profit in the profit of the many-that is not the origin of the herd but its going under. (Z:l "On the Thousand and One Goals")

Dogs were once wolves, beasts of prey; now they are domesticated, like too many human beings. Indeed, our experience of domesticating and training dogs has served as an implicit model for training humans. There is no doubt about the baneful aspects of the process: "Virtue is what makes modest and tame: with it they make the wolf into a dog and man himself into man's best domestic animal" (2:3 "Of the Virtue That Makes Small"). However, it is just the domestication of humans that leads to such astonishing results as an animal that is capable of making promises and that is therefore pregnant with a future beyond the alternatives of domestication, the herd, or the pack (GM Il:l).


Part of life's difficulty for most people most of the time is that they fail to see the ego as a dog. Aphorism 312 of Gay Science reads:
"My dog.-I have given a name to my pain and call it 'dog.' It is just as faithful, just as obtrusive and shameless, just as entertaining, just as clever as any other dog-and I can scold it and vent my bad mood on it, as others do with their dogs, servants, and wives." How liberating it would be if we could see our "pain"-the su:m of our resentments and frustrations, for example-as a dog that frequently amuses us but needs to be kept in its place and can serve as an outlet for our bad temper. This would be far superior to seeing ourselves as identical with the pain, and the same holds true for our relation to the ego, which follows us about like a dog.

The dog is rather consistently a figure of slavish obedience, as contrasted with other animals. A note from the first half of 1883 praises the superior strength and fitness of beasts of prey (Raubtiere) and explains that cats and dogs are both degenerate (entartete) versions of such beasts (KSA 10:7[42]). Yet Nietzsche admires the playfulness and cunning of the cat, while having some reservations about its dishonesty. One might say that the dog does not have enough imagination for the feline style of dishonesty. In the epilogue to The Wanderer and His Shadow, as the light is failing the Wanderer takes leave of the Shadow, who has been dogging his steps and thoughts for a whole long day. Rejecting the Shadow's tentative offer to be his slave, the Wanderer replies:

[T]he sight of one unfree would embitter me for all my joy; I would find even the best things repulsive if someone hail to share them with me-I want no slaves around me. That is why I will not have even a dog, that lazy tail-wagging parasite who has become "doglike" only through being the slave of man and who is even commended for loyalty to his master and willingness to follow him like his-

"Like his shadow," his fading companion completes the sentence and goes on to compare himself with a dog lying at his master's feet and then with the "philosophical 'dog' " Diogenes, the Cynic, or canine, who asked Alexander the Great to step out of his light. The Cynics can be taken to be doglike not only in their espousal of a "back to nature" lifestyle and their contempt for culture but also in their retention and exaggeration of the "I," that individu­ ality that they seek to preserve by doing without, living in tubs, and express­ ing their disdain for a society that has taught them to be the dogs that they are.5

From the beginning of Zarathustra, the shepherd, always associated with his dog, has been an object of suspicion. After Zarathustra has carried away and buried the tightrope walker-who is mockingly called a "dead dog" by one of the townsfolk-he codifies his new insight: "[L]et Zarathustra speak not to the people but to companions [Gefi:ihrten]. Zarathustra shall not become the shepherd and dog of a herd [einer Heerde Hirt und Hund]" (Z:P 9). In the notes for Zarathustra, Nietzsche writes, "If you want to take life easy, always stay with the herd. Forget yourself in the herd! Love the shep­ herd and respect his dog's bite!" (KSA 10:4[38]). Yet ifthe trained dog is not the ideal companion, the way of liberation does not involve setting the wild dogs loose from their imprisonment in their cellars. This is what Zarathustra teaches the pale youth in "On the Tree on the Mountainside," whose imagination of freeing his imprisoned instincts still reflects a prison mentality. From the post-human perspective of the Obermensch, the human ego will appear as a result of training and breeding not dissimilar to that of the train­ ing and breeding of dogs. We may imagine that our discipline is directed toward others, but it is directed just as much toward ourselves. Michel Fou­ cault helps to show this, following Nietzsche, in Discipline and Punish; in The History ofSexuality, he argues that what we conventionally take to be libera­ tory, the discourse of sexuality in modem therapeutic theory and practice, is in fact a disciplining of individuals and part of a biopower directed toward certain populations.6

There is nothing wrong with the herd as such. It is simply the condition of the animal. The problem arises when the individual claims to be an inde­ pendent "I" or ego but continues to think, feel, and live, unbeknownst to herself, as a member of the herd. So it becomes possible to speak of "the herd of independent minds." In their domesticated state, dogs frequently live as solitary pets. Their owners find them charmingly individual and human, thus confirming their sense of their own individuality. But what if that vaunted individuality were something into which they had been domesticated and trained, as obedience school teaches them to be good dog owners? In a lib­ eral, democratic, consumer society one expresses one's individuality in one's style of consumption, one's vote at the polls, one's choice of entertain­ ment-the content may vary from person to person, but not the general matrix within which choices, conscious or unconscious, are made. Another note of Nietzsche's puts the point succinctly:

"Once the ego [das Ich] was hidden in the herd: and now the herd is still hidden in the ego" (KSA 10:5[1] 273).

Dogs over the years have been bred to be amenable to certain forms of training; this is the herd that lies hidden in the family pet. Humans over the years have also been bred to be amenable to certain kinds of training, and this is the herd that lies hidden in what we call education and freedom. So when Nietzsche notoriously speaks of the desirability of "breeding" human beings of a certain sort, he does so at a certain point in a long history in which breeding has proceeded in a happenstance and unreflective fashion.

"Dogs believe in thieves and ghosts." Both are intruders who do not belong, even if one is "real" and the other not. It is a philosophical joke of Plato's, in the Republic (376a), that the dog is the most philosophical animal because it distinguishes friend and foe on the basis of knowledge. These are the friends and enemies of the house, the domus, and this knowledge of the watchdog is a domesticated knowledge. In the episode of "The Leech" in Z, we hear that it is a matter of accident whether a particular man and a particular dog become friends or enemies. Nietzsche never tires of pointing out how we (and all animals) require simplified schemas of recognition in order to get on with the business of life. These schemas are both necessary and problematic; they provide quick and easy means of sorting things out, while they channel attention in predetermined ways and so hinder fresher, more spontaneous responses. The ghost is the intruder par excellence, the reifica­ tion and fetishization of whatever is other and incomprehensible.

Having focused on the howling dog and the childhood memory it evokes, Zarathustra realizes that the dwarf, the spider, and the gateway have all disap­ peared-but not the dog, whose howling indicates the plight of the shepherd choking on a snake: "But there lay a man. And there-the dog, jumping, bris­ tling, whining-now he saw me coming; then he howled again, he cried. Had I ever heard a dog cry like this for help? And verily, what I saw-I had never seen the like." The watchdog, probably the shepherd's dog, his loyal and faithful ego, knows that something is terribly wrong. He seems to recognize Zarathustra as a possible friend or helper. Many commentators on this pas­ sage assert without argument that the shepherd is Zarathustra's double, who dramatizes the difficulty of acknowledging and confronting the thought of recurrence. If this is so, then we could think of the dog as his own ego, appalled and confused by those thoughts that had led to his falling silent in the colloquy with the dwarf. Why should the thought of recurrence make the ego cry desperately for help? In a note from August 1881, just a few days after the first jottings in Nietzsche's notebooks on the thought of recurrence, he writes of a series of errors, schemas of recognition and conceptualization, including that of individuality:

The species is the cruder error, the individual the more refined error, it comes later. The individual struggles for its existence, for its new taste, for its relatively unique position among all things-it considers these as better than the universal taste and despises the latter. It wants to rule. But then it discovers that it itself is something changing and has a taste that changes, with its subtlety it sees into the secret that there is no individual, that in the smallest twinkling of the eye [im kleinsten Augen­ blick] it is something other than it is in the next and that its conditions of existence are those of no end of individuals: der unendlich kleine Augenblick is the higher reality and truth, a lightning image [Blitzbild] out of the eternal flow [Fluss]. So the individual learns: how all satisfying knowledge rests on the crude error of the spe­ cies, the subtler error of the individual and the subtlest error of the creative Augen­ blick. (KSA 9:11(156])

We are constrained to think in terms of species: humans, dogs, elephants, leeches, and so on. But as both Darwinian biology and the Nietzschean ontology of differential will to power imply, the species is simply a conve­ nient fiction. In the light of such a realization, we may come to give pride of ontological and ethical place to the individual, the "I." But to think recur­ rence, as the shepherd and Zarathustra struggle to do, takes us beyond the individual, beyond the dog we call "ego." To affirm recurrence is to give equal weight to all my experiences, both before and after thinking the thought. It leads to no coherent narrative ofmy own life but suggests that I am immersed in the stream of becoming. If "the innocence of becoming" frees me from guilt, it also radically transforms the very terms of "I" and "me" with which I began to pose such questions-the thoughts and hinter-thoughts that were interrupted by the howling dog. In the conversation with the dwarf, it was suggested that the passing moment or twinkling of the eye (Augenblick) is that which eternally recurs.

Perhaps that too was a necessary oversimplifica­ tion; the closest approximation to the real that escapes conceptualization. Once the shepherd bites off and spews out the head of the snake we hear no more of the noisy dog. If this biting and spewing involves acknowledging the anti-individualistic thrust of the teaching of recurrence, the role of the domesticated ego necessarily falls away. And the shepherd, in his superhu­ man laughter, becomes something other than a shepherd. He will no longer be either domesticated or domesticator, for reflection on the canine condi­tion reveals that these are two sides of the same coin." [Gary Shapiro; Acampora, A Nietzschean Bestiary]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:09 pm

Spiders and tarantulas

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"References to the spider, die Spinne, and its spinning of webs are common throughout Nietzsche's works. Kant is a fatal spider (A11) and Spinoza is a cunning one (TI "Skirmishes" 23). God himself spun out the world as a spider spins its web. An apparently insignificant spider in the moonlight makes an appearance in the first formulation of the eternal recurrence in The Gay Science 341, and a spider reappears when eternal recurrence makes its initial appearance in Thus Spoke Zarathustra's "On the Vision and the Riddle." In what follows, I want to briefly review Nietzsche's references to spi­ ders in his published works and some of the more significant mentions in the unpublished works, and I will conclude by offering some observations on whether Nietzsche is an arachnophobe or, like his "precursor" Spinoza, an arachnophile.

The first reference chronologically to a spider in the Kritische Studienaus­ gabe is found in Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks 10, where Parmen­ ides's hostility to the natural world leads him to tum away from natural philosophy, producing instead "bloodless truths" that sit like empty husks in a maze of spider's webs (SpinnefaJ.en). While Parmenidean philosophy and the spider both produce victims, according to Nietzsche, the spider "undoubtedly wants the blood of his victims" and thereby stands as a natural counterpoint to the Parmenidean philosopher, who can only produce dena­ tured abstract generalities that pass as "truths."
The spider figures twice in "On Truth and Lies in an Extramoral Sense."

First is the spider's web as the culminating structure in Nietzsche's series of architectural metaphors for the construction of science: Nietzsche's story begins with the beehive of bustling, instinctual labor, then moves through ideas fortified like the towers of a medieval fortress to concepts mummified in the hierarchical pyramid and then to the charred remains of those con­ cepts in a Roman columbarium before ending up with a spider's web, at once fragile yet resilient. What appeals here to Nietzsche about the image of the spider's web is, in fact, three things: first, that the web of a spider is delicate; second, that for all its delicate fragility, it is remarkably strong; and third, and most important, that the spider constructs its web not with material that it finds outside itself but rather that the spider manufactures its web from itself.

Where the bee or the ant are bricoleurs, working with what they find, the spider is a creative artist who serves as an image for man as the "genius of construction [Baugenie]" insofar as "man builds with the far more delicate conceptual material which he first has to manufacture from himself" (TL, p. 85). This is related directly to the second reference to the spider in "On Truth and Lies," which expands upon this genius of conceptual construction: the builders of these webs, "the practitioners of science," spin out their repre­ sentations with the same necessity with which a spider spins its web, by which Nietzsche means that "all that we actually know about these laws of nature is what we ourselves bring to them time and space, and therefore relationships of succession and number" (TL, p. 87). Here we see Nietzsche at his most Kantian, and, although he does not yet link the spider to Kant (he will later, as we shall see), he does present the spider here in the context of a fairly straightforward Kantian phenomenalism: scientists will have orga­nized their experiences in terms of the Kantian forms of intuition and cate­ gories of the understanding as naturally and necessarily as will a spider spin its web.

While Socrates spins a net impenetrably tight around existence in Birth of Tragedy 15 , the spider itself does not appear in the published works until the second of the Untimely Meditations (HL 9, pp. 108-109). And here it is not just any spider but a grosse Kreuzspinne , which Hollingdale translates lit­ erally as a "great cross-spider" and which Gray translates simply as a "great spider." A "Kreuz," of course, is a cross or crucifix, and so, on the one hand, there is an allusion to Christianity that Nietzsche will make much more of in his three later references to the Kreuzspinne. But a Kreuzspinne is also, quite simply, a "garden spider" and so may involve no reference to the Church at all. We shall have to leave this question of the cross unresolved in this passage, however, for although one could argue that Nietzsche always alludes to Christianity, whether consciously or not, when he invokes the Kreuz, he does not explicitly invoke Christianity in this case. Instead, it is simply "the modem human being" who is the "great cross-spider at the cen­ter of the cosmic web [die grosse Kreuzspinne im Knoten des Weltall-Netzes]" and whose tireless unraveling and historicizing of all foundations has given rise, on the one hand, to a certain sort of gloominess (a gloominess that will later be called "nihilism") and, on the other hand, to what Nietzsche regards as a humorous, albeit unconscious, parody of world history, namely, Eduard von Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious (1869).

The spider's next appearance is Human, All Too Human 427, where the free spirit is warned against marriage because habits are like a net of spider's webs (Spinneweben), and we must be vigilant against sitting in the middle of our habits like "the spider who has caught himself and has to live on his own blood." In the second volume of Human, All Too Human, Assorted Opinions and Maxims, the spider makes several appearances. In AOM 32, we find the first link between God and the spider as Nietzsche echoes Plato's critique of the poets for weaving a web of beautiful deceptions around the world and having those deceptions taken by the masses to be the "real reality." When this poet comes to believe, like his audience, that he really knows what he describes, Nietzsche concludes that he has deluded himself into thinking he knows as much as "the great world-spider itself." In AOM 153, Nietzsche tells us that one must spend time with a good book, "many hours must pass over it, many a spider have spun its web on it."

In AOM 171 , we're told that webs of forgetfulness are spun around works of art-and in particular musical works-that are tied to a historical moment that has passed, while in AOM 172 we find that modern poets incapable of the great creative ventures of the master poets of earlier times are haunted by spiders and other unpleas­ ant creatures. The spider's final appearance, in AOM 194, is representative of many of the spider references from this period in invoking self-generation, artifice, and predation and is short enough to cite in full. It is titled "Three thinkers equal a spider." The passage reads: "In every philosophical sect three thinkers follow one after the other in the following way: one produces out of himself the seed and sap, the second draws it out into threads and spins an artificial web, the third lurks in this web for victims who get caught in it-and tries to live off philosophy."

The spider-once again a great spider (grosse Spinne)-makes its next appearance in Daybreak 71 as the image of the Roman conqueror whose eter­ nal constructions were established to "consume all blood wherever it might well forth." This is followed in D 117 by one of Nietzsche's significant state­ ments of perspectivism: we are prisoners of our senses and all our knowledge is incapable of bringing us to the "real world"; rather, our knowledge only reflects back to us the limits of our sensory organs, and, as a result, "we sit within our net, we spiders, and whatever we may catch in it, we can catch nothing at all except that which allows itself to be caught precisely in our net." In D 130, the belief in an ordered world of purposes and willed actions is described as a spider's web that is broken by the interventions of chance and accident, and later in this section we find a veiled allusion to God as a spider insofar as the belief in a loving God who in fact orchestrates precisely those chance interventions is described in terms of the spinning out of pur­ poses and nets too refined for humans to understand.

In The Gay Science, the spider makes his first appearance in the famous section 341 as an image of insignificance to emphasize that the demon's chal­lenge really does mean that every thing-even this insignificant spider-will recur. Whether this is the only reason for the spider is perhaps worth ques­ tioning and, as an aside, I'll offer what I hope is not a completely idle specu­ lation; namely, that insofar as GS 341 follows the section titled "The dying Socrates," it seems plausible that the demon who steals after "you" in 341 is intended to recall Socrates' daimon. And if so, perhaps we are also supposed to think, subliminally, that this insignificant spider who would also recur is none other than Socrates himself, the first of the life-sucking spiders that populate the philosophical pantheon. I don't think this speculation can be proved conclusively by the text, but given all that is going on in the closing sections of the fourth book of The Gay Science , it might be worth some fur­ ther speculation. In any case, the spider's final appearance, in the fifth book of The Gay Science (358), finds the God, or perhaps a generalized pope, of the Catholic Church alluded to as the "old spider" whose centuries of work were unraveled by that precocious peasant Martin Luther.

We next come to Thus Spoke Zarathustra, where the spider is a frequent character. His first appearance, a tarantula's appearance really, is in the chapter of that name, where the tarantulas, those preachers of equality who are in fact teachers of revenge, are described as poisonous spiders (Gift-Spin­nen) whose teachings, ultimately the teachings of the priests-Zarathustra's old enemies-are the very opposite of what Zarathustra teaches. In Z:2 "On Scholars," Nietzsche has his revenge on the philological moles who ridiculed his earlier work, describing them as spiders who lie in wait carefully preparing their poisons for those whose work is alive. In book three, spiders appear in six of the sixteen sections. First is in Z:3 "On the Vision and the Riddle," recalling the image of insignificance first presented in GS 34 1 , as we are here told by Zarathustra that recurrence will include this slow spider and this moonlight. In Z:3 "Before Sunrise," we find praise of chance as the alterna­tive to a no longer believable "eternal spider and spider's web of Reason [ewige Vemunft-Spinne und -Spinnennetze]."

In Z:3 "On Virtue that Makes Small" 3, the nothingness of those whose virtues lead them away from life is itself "a spider's web and a spider which lives on the blood of the future." In Z:3 "Of Apostates" 2, the Kreuzspinne-the cross-spider-that we first saw in the second Untimely Meditation appears again, this time explicitly as an image of the priest, whose piety and deadly cleverness attract the other apos­ tate spiders who are losing their loss of faith, luring them with the teaching that "under crosses one can spin well." This cross-spider appears twice more in book three of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. At the end of Z:3 "On the Three Evils," those who cannot appreciate the value of selfishness because they have no self-the world-weary and the priests-are called "world-weary cow­ ards and cross-spiders." In Z:3 "On the Great Longing," Zarathustra sings to his soul of having brushed the dust, twilight, and spiders off of it. Here it is just plain spiders, not cross-spiders this time, though the cross might be implied given the other passages in book three. But the cross-spider makes one last appearance in the second of "The Seven Seals," where Zarathustra's wrath comes like a broom to cross-spiders (Z:3).

The spider's appearances in book four of Thus Spoke Zarathustra are much less numerous and significant than what we find in book three. In Z:4 "At Noon," we find Zarathustra's soul so content (or is it just fatigue?) that it leans against the earth like a ship nestled in a still cove that is moored there with nothing stronger than the threads spun by a spider. And the spider's final appearance in Thus Spoke Zarathustra comes in section 4 of 2:4 "The Drunken Song," a passage that recalls "On the Vision and the Riddle" in linking the howling of a dog with the shining of the moon, only this time the spider is not quite so devoid of thematic association, for here again it is the desire for blood that Zarathustra suggests animates the spider's spinning of its web.

After Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the spider reappears early in Beyond Good and Evil, this time in the guise of the philosopher and friend of knowledge who is described as, among other things, a "web-spinner of the spirit [Spin­ neweber des Geistes]" (BGE 25). What is noteworthy about this passage, though, is that it is the first time Nietzsche links the spider with Spinoza. This verbal linkage-Spinoza als Spinne-will reappear again, but in this first connection, it is made in the context of philosophers as lovers of truths whose truths are of no interest to the masses. The people's utter indifference to the wisdom of the philosophers turns these poor, ignored souls into "ven­ geance-seekers and poison-brewers."10 The spider appears again much later, in BGE 209, once more as an image of blood-sucking, this time in the con­ text of a parable of the fears of the father of Frederick the Great, who is concerned that young Frederick might fall victim to the blood-sucking "spi­ der of skepticism" that his father Friedrich Wilhelm I associated with those clever Frenchmen-Montaigne, La Rochefoucauld, Voltaire-that Nietzsche so preferred to the British or the Germans.

In On the Genealogy of Morals IIl:9, in the context of a comment on the general hubris of contemporary philosophers and scientists, N ietzsche refers to the current "attitude toward God as some alleged spider of purpose and morality behind the great captious web of causality." Webs of the most mali­ cious conspiracies, whose authors are unidentified (are they spiders or silk­ worms?), are woven by the sick and weak in GM III:l4, while philosophers are ridiculed as "web-spinners and idlers" in GM III:17 insofar as they believe that feelings of displeasure will vanish as soon as the error in them is recog­ nized.

In Twilight ofthe Idols (" 'Reason' in Philosophy" 4 ), the philosophical mis­ take of valuing that which comes last as most valuable is disparaged as "the brainsick fantasies of sick web-spinners [die Gehimleiden kranker Spinne­ weber]." In TI "Skirmishes" 23, in a passage uncharacteristic for its praise of Plato as a great erotic, Spinoza is again linked to the spider when he is put forward as the ultimate contrast to the Greek tradition of philosophizing in public: "Nothing is less Greek than the conceptual web-spinning [Begriffs­ Spinneweberei] of a hermit, amor intellectualis dei in the manner of Spinoza."

In The Antichrist(ian) , the spider makes four significant appearances, and I think it would be fair to hold these appearances as in many respects repre­ sentative of many of the passages we have already surveyed in the later works. The first three come in the context of Nietzsche's condemning philosophy, especially German philosophy, for having been corrupted by theology.

The first, A 11, labels Kant a "fatal spider [Verhangniss van Spinne]" inso­ far as he provided a philosophical justification for the theological tendency to mistake its own notion of duty for the concept of duty in general. The other two, A 17 and 18, address the Christian concept ofGod as an impover­ ished god, which reflects the decadence of the people who created it. Having been transformed from the all-powerful god of a chosen people to the good god of the weak and the sick, this Christian God is so impotent that he has been mastered by the "the palest of the pale, [. . .] messieurs the metaphysi­ cians, the conceptual albinos [who] have spun their web around him so long that, hypnotized by their movements, he himself became a spider, a meta­ physician."11 This metaphysician-god is then linked to the two modem phi­ losophers who we have already seen conjoined with the spider, Spinoza and Kant, as Nietzsche concludes in A 1 7:
"Thenceforward he span the world again out of himself-sub specie Spinozae-thenceforward he transformed himself into something ever paler and less substantial, became an 'ideal,' became 'pure spirit,' became 'absolutum,' became 'thing in itself.' . . . Decay of a God: God became 'thing in itself.' "

And this comment is immediately picked up in the following section, in which Nietzsche elaborates on the degeneration of God to a contradiction of life: "The Christian conception of God-God as God of the sick, God as spider, God as spirit-is one of the most corrupt conceptions of God arrived at on earth" (A 18). The Nachlass also has a passage that reflects this conjunction of God, metaphysics, and spiders, KSA 13:16[58]: "For the spider, the spider is the consummate being; for the metaphysician, God is a metaphysician, which is to say, he spins. . . ." In the final spider passage in A, it is not God but the priest who earns this label, as Nietzsche confesses to having recognized the priest for what he is: "the most dangerous kind of parasite, the actual poison-spider of life [Gifts­ pinne des Lebens]" (A 38).

These are all the references to spiders in Nietzsche's published works and the more significant references in the Nachlass.12 Before I conclude this sur­ vey, though, I suppose a final comment is in order concerning a reference to a particular species of spider-the tarantula. In addition to the section "On the Tarantulas" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, about which I've already spoken, there is only one other reference to tarantulas in Nietzsche's works, but it is an interesting reference. The tarantula is, for Nietzsche, a particularly nasty spider known more for its bite than its web-spinning, and this one reference is to Rousseau, who in section three of the preface to Daybreak is referred to as a moral tarantula whose bite we are told infected poor old Kant with a moral fanaticism that was, among other things, what led Kant to his sympa­ thies for the French Revolution.

I will close with two briefobservations. First, there appears to be a progres­ sion in Nietzsche's references to spiders from the positive to the negative. Where the spider begins, in "On Truth and Lies" and Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, as a positive image of self-generating creation and preda­ tion, it ends as a much more negative image of cunning and capture. This progression, I would suggest, roughly parallels the progression of Nietzsche's thinking about one of the two philosophers he associates most closely with the spider, namely, Kant. When Nietzsche thinks about Kantian phenome­ nalism and the epistemological perspectives articulated in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, he cannot help but notice the strong affinities between the Kantian position and his own. This Kantian spider spins out the webs of its knowledge necessarily and naturally, and Nietzsche cannot but affirm its activities. But as Nietzsche's attention turns to the universalization of duty in the Critique of Practice Reason and the disinterested observation of the Cri­ tique ofJudgment, his sympathy disappears as he sees in Kant's ethics, religion, and aesthetics the deceptive web-spinning of a deadly spider that is resurrect­ ing the metaphysical and supernatural illusions of the Platonic and Christian traditions.14 And, as a consequence, this Kantian spider emerges as one of the prime examples of life-negation whose actions must be refused and revalued.

Finally, returning to my title, we must ask: Is Nietzsche an arachnophile or an arachnophobe? I think we have to answer: both. On the one hand, Nietzsche surely loves his spiders as a metaphor-they are one of the most commonly appearing members of his menagerie, appearing in no less than ten of his seventeen published works. They are master-builders who, more­ over, can create out of themselves with a kind of necessity that Nietzsche can only admire. And they are invoked in the two main passages in the pub­ lished works, GS 341 ("The Greatest Weight") and Z:3 "On the Vision and the Riddle,'' in which Nietzsche presents eternal recurrence. But, that said, Nietzsche seems more than a little afraid of them: they are blood-suckers, parasites.

While N ietzsche admires the beasts of prey in On the Genealogy of Morals, he does not express much admiration for the predatory characteris­ tics of the spider. Lacking the natural grace of the beasts of prey, the spider may be even more dangerous because as it seems so relatively benign and unthreatening. For this reason, Nietzsche is more attentive to the spider as a cunning trapper than a true predator. Perhaps he fears getting caught more than getting killed: caught in webs of philosophical concepts with which he has no sympathies, caught in the webs of the priests that will diminish if not negate his active strength, caught in the web of the great spider God whose values stand as that which must be overcome. It would seem, then, that the spider is more a slave than a master, and, while Nietzsche may not techni­cally be an arachnophobe-spiders, at least as far as we can tell, did not lead to any "clinically significant impairment" of his behavior-he may share more with Little Miss Muffet than with Spinoza, who found the feeding of flies to spiders a source of entertainment if not hilarity." [Acampora, A Nietzschean Beastiary]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:41 pm

Adder

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Quote :
"The story begins with Zarathustra asleep under a fig tree (Z:1 "On the Adder's Bite"). An adder (Natter) slithers toward him, presumably out of that tree, and bites Zarathustra on the neck. The snake laments having inflicted this mortal wound on Zarathustra, but he boasts of carrying a greater poison than any snake's, and the adder gratefully licks the innocuous wound.

When Zarathustra tells his disciples this story they ask him for its moral; he says he is an annihilator of morals and that goes for morals of stories too. So he gives what you might call the unmoral of the story, roughly speaking an anti-sermon of amoral advice about responding to an enemy's injuries. The anti-sermon negates Christian injunctions: Don't bless those who curse you; don't repay evil with good.

Genesis 3 comes to mind as a source for this story's images, thanks to the snake and to the fig tree that appears the moment Adam loses his innocence (Genesis 3:7). But the tree also recalls John 1 :48, in which Nathanael is said to have been sitting under a fig tree when Jesus sees him-supernaturally, from a distance-and chooses him as a disciple.

So although as the occasion for Zarathustra's commentary the adder only needs to be an enemy or a danger, it arrives in the book imbedded in images that make it function more specifically as a temptation to moralistic think­ ing. The Genesis serpent brings Adam and the woman to interpret them­ selves morally; Nathanael is drawn into discipleship. Whatever power lets Zarathustra escape the viper's poison also lets him escape a moralistic inter­ pretation of the viper's bite-as evil for instance, as a thing that calls for redemption or forgiveness.

The third biblical story behind Zarathustra's and the most elaborately alluded to comes from Acts 28. There again the snake is an adder or viper [ochidna]. Paul is shipwrecked on Malta and has just sat down by a fire when the adder crawls out of one of the logs and bites his hand. His Maltese hosts read the snake's attack as a sign of divine justice. Paul must be a murderer. But Paul shakes the viper off his hand; it hasn't hurt him, and now the Mal­ tese conclude that he must be a god.

Paul himself is not said to comment on the meaning of the viper. Acts leaves both moralizing interpretations to the Maltese: Paul is either atro­ ciously guilty or a god. Barbarians though they are said to be, Paul's hosts uphold the terms of moral interpretation of Genesis, whose serpent promised divinity but delivered only great guilt.

Paul has become godlike though and impervious to snakes' effects thanks to the grace of Christ. The moralistic interpretation of his immunity to snakebite is right as far as it can go in its ignorance of Christian grace; only Paul's immunity does not follow from good deeds he's done or from divine birth but from his liberation from morality as morality has thus far been known.

Nietzsche amplifies one side of the story about Paul. Things have indeed changed, and snakes no longer represent either crime or the punishment for it, and the one who is not felled by their bites does stand above the concerns of petty justice: all this as in Acts. But whereas the witnesses in Acts decide that Paul is no murderer, Zarathustra forestalls the Christian interpretation by accepting the title of annihilator. Paul's miraculous preservation shows that he is not a murderer; Zarathustra's shows that he is one.

The fig tree's biblical associations moreover turn the snake into a repre­ sentative of all morality and demonstrate Zarathustra's independence, greater than Paul's, from morality's bite.

These passages from Zarathustra suggest two lessons for the reader ofNietz­ sche who wants to discover what snakes can mean in his writings.

First, if a string of associations leads this adder to represent enmity in gen­ eral but also moral interpretations of enmity (and then even the interpretation of Christianity as a moral enemy) , Nietzsche's readers should take care not to decide in advance what any one reference to snakes has to mean. This story's adder does not slither straight to an index card to be filed under "enemy" or "knowledge" or "temptation." If anything, the desire to catego­rize it as uniquely symbolic betrays a habit of interpretive simplification, which is to say moralization.

Even the snake's venom should not be read as possessing an obvious sig­ nificance. Kathleen Marie Higgins has pointed out how insistently On the Genealogy of Morals uses poison as a metaphor for morality's effects.' But she also points out Nietzsche's role in history as one who bites more of the same poison into his readers-like Zarathustra, he boasts of his own venom-to heighten its effect.

Second, the adder's meanings emerge against the backdrop of the biblical narratives that Nietzsche inverts or parodies or otherwise tries to supersede. Nietzsche's symbol-construction cannot be understood without reference to the symbolic uses of snakes already in play." [Acampora, A Nietzschean Beastiary]



Quote :
"In a cryptic rhyme about shedding skin (GS "Joke, Cunning, Revenge" Cool Nietzsche describes his skin as cracking, speaks of "the snake in me [in mir die Schlange]''; the rhyme is about snakes eating earth and Nietzsche's own urge to keep consuming that snake food. Does Nietzsche's equation of himself with a snake mainly draw on a folk belief that snakes live off dirt, in which case he is announcing that his book's investigations will dig lower than philosophers before him dared to? Or does this snake stand for any submerged impulse in the way that the "bunch of wild snakes [Kniui el wil.der Schlangen]," to which Zarathustra refers, represents the unworthy criminal's disarray of character (Z:l "On the Pale Criminal")? In that case the rhyme points to a new authenticity that Nietz­sche is claiming for himself - his willingness to embrace his own hidden drives - more than to the philosophical inquiry that feeds that authenticity.

But a skin that cracks to release something new and larger-grown also seems to promise rebirth and rejuvenation. Snakes live on soil (or so Nietz­sche pretends to believe); the earth keeps them strong and healthy; his need to keep renewing himself by digging into life's unsavory elements lies at the heart of Nietzsche's deepest inclinations. The sixty syllables that constitute the eighth verse of GS "Joke, Cunning, Revenge" twine together all three implications of the snake. Meanwhile of course this snake continues to func­tion as a sign of knowledge, because the dirt that Nietzsche craves is the dirt on human morals. Snake as body, snake as the hidden, snake as the self­ rejuvenating, the snake who knows: Nietzsche is the tempter snake in all these senses.

Nietzsche's appeals to the familiar meanings of snakes in his briefest refer­ ences to them do not gainsay the spirit of GS "Joke, Cunning, Revenge" 8 and the other passages that bring new significance to the serpent. A passing illustrative figure of speech can only function by making immediate sense-it needs to clarify, not complicate. Similes presuppose some fixed meaning in the term of comparison. When Nietzsche positively addresses himself to the snake, he has a freedom to multiply and deepen its connotations that mere mentions do not allow.

And yet if Nietzsche's use of the serpent here and there does not betray his covert acceptance of its interpretation under Christian morality, still it does remind you that he is writing from within Christian language and cul­ ture. The general categories for understanding the serpent remain the cate­ gories of knowledge, concealment, fertility, and danger. Nietzsche may accept a derogatory stereotype of serpentine cunning in one place, meta­ phorize or parody it somewhere else, and invert the stereotype completely in a third passage, but each time he presupposes the moralizing tradition." [ib.]



Quote :
"The most visible snake is the one that along with an eagle lives in Zara­thustra's cave with him. Even quick references to that particular snake (2:1 "Prologue" l ; 2:2 "The Child with the Mirror"; 2:4 "The Voluntary Beggar"; 2:4 "The Song of Melancholy" 1 ; 2:4 "The Drunken Song" 2) establish Zar­athustra's place outside the Christian-moralistic interpretation of nature and specifically antagonistic toward that interpretation. Imagine how the serpent himself might have written Genesis 3, Nietzsche is saying. Zarathustra calls his snake "the wisest animal" (2:1 "Prologue" 10; 2:4 "The Magician" 2; 2:4 "The Ugliest Man"; see also 2:4 "On Science"), and the snake and eagle re­ teach him his own doctrine of the eternal return in "The Convalescent" (2:3).

The serpent and eagle also hark back to The Birth of Tragedy, in which Nietzsche contrasts the masculine Aryan myth of sacrilege with the feminine original sin of Semitic myth (BT 9). A serpent instigated the Semitic sacrilege and came to enact part of the punishment for it, biting the woman's heel and her descendants' heels forever (Genesis 3:15). Prometheus steals fire on his own, but an eagle gnaws away his liver every day to punish him.

These animals that until now have reinforced morality's bonds on behav­ior appear in Zarathustra's story to give him heart and egg him on. No fear of sacrilege here. Precisely because he does not read these natural beings moralistically, Zarathustra remains free of the sanctions against blasphemy. The animals mean what they had meant but without the superaddition of those judgments that amount to prejudices.

The serpent's wisdom shows itself when the animals teach the eternal return back to Zarathustra: it is a wisdom about eternity. Other snake-references in 2arathustra likewise connote eternity and knowledge, whether they be the dangerous snake in the young shepherd's mouth symbolizing eternal return as an unwelcome teaching (2:3 "The Vision and the Riddle") or the metaphorical description of life as a serpent (2:3 "Other Dancing Song"). Maybe the present that Zarathustra's disciples give him-a staff topped with a golden snake wrapped around a sun (2:1 "On the Gift-Giving Virtue")­ also represents eternity.

The first of these examples makes a specially vexed case. Why should it be such a noxious serpent that stands for the eternal return? With what aspect of the doctrine does Nietzsche associate it? And why does Zarathustra bite off its head?

Paul Loeb's recent juxtaposition of "The Vision and the Riddle" with Siegfried II - Siegfried killing Fafner the dragon or snake - prods new meanings out of the serpent in Zarathustra's vision.

The consensus among commentators has been that Zarathustra's confron­tation with this snake represents his struggle with the thought that even small humans will recur eternally. But Zarathustra does not merely over­ come his own nausea, he kills the snake itself. The snake therefore denotes "the eternally recurring human," whether great or small; if the snake is more generally an image of time's loop, its head represents the present "while the 'tail' symbolizes the past that has transpired up to the present moment." Beheading the snake therefore means destroying humanity as it exists at present.

If Loeb's interpretation holds, then the envisioned serpent combines direct appropriations of Eden's serpent with inversions of it. For Loeb, as for the consensus he rebuts, this snake is a tempter; but unlike Adam, Zarathus­tra defeats the temptation. As in Genesis this serpent forces the issue of humanity's survival, except that Zarathustra ends humanity when he van­ quishes the serpent instead of in succumbing. And eternity is still the gift a serpent has to offer.

The second inconvenience for a reading that has Nietzsche rehabilitating the serpent from Christianity's moralistic use of it is the animal's already multifarious appearance in the Bible. The Genesis snake does tempt the woman to eat the forbidden fruit, and insults such as the gospels' "generation ofvipers" (Matthew 3:7, 12:34, 23:33; Luke 3:7) do express the loathing you would expect that event to have inspired. But if the Asclepian caduceus typi­ fies the high regard in which Greek polytheism held snakes, it ought to mat­ ter that the Bible contains almost identical images. When Moses and Aaron turn their rods into serpents and back again (Exodus 4:3-4, 7:9-12), the act conjures up the caduceus's ties between snakes and wood. The lifesaving is biblical, too. Moses sets up a brass serpent in the desert that protects the Israelites from snakebite (Numbers 21:6-9). John 3:14-15 even reads this story as a foreshadowing of Christian soteriology in which the son of man will be lifted up like the snake in the desert and bring eternal life to all believers. Where is the negative stereotype in that comparison?

Meanwhile the Israelites need saving in the first place because God sent venomous serpents after them (see also I Corinthians 10:9). God frequently uses serpents to punish the wicked (Job 20:16; Isaiah 59:5; Jeremiah 8:17; and see Deuteronomy 32:24 and Job 26:13), which makes the animals as powerful as they are in Greek mythology - e.g., the snakes with which Hera intends to kill the infant Heracles - and no more intrinsically evil than the Greeks made them out to be, if they are doing a good God's work. (For more references to serpentine power see Isaiah 14:29 and 27:1; for fearsomely strong sea serpents see Isaiah 51:9, Psalm 74:14 and 104:26, and Job 26:12.)

The snake's agreeable scriptural meanings join together in the biblical ser­pent to which Nietzsche most often alludes. In King James English this beast is "subtil" (Genesis 3:1) , has the power of speech, promises life if the woman eats the fruit (3:4), and promises knowledge of good and evil (3:5). Its evil nature aside, it is much the same serpent as in ancient polytheism.

Given Nietzsche's own allegiance to knowledge - a strange new kind of allegiance, but it is still an allegiance-he most frequently emphasizes the mental acumen of Eden's serpent when he alludes to that animal. It is not exactly that Nietzsche denies the evil of this serpent that knows about morality and immortal life, but rather that he denies the evil of that "evil." The meanings he would like to invest in the serpent are here already, only needing to be cut loose from moral judgment. The serpent is still an animal of concealment, but concealment does not have to mean a sinfulness that requires hiding; it is still a cunning animal, but Nietzsche prizes cunning treatments of morality. It is still a promise of long life-longer than ever, as a matter of fact; eternal life - but this serpent keeps its promise." [ib.]



Quote :
"The Bible's snakes are masculine figures. When they turn malevolent, they are malevolent toward women. Biblical figures of speech identify Dan, the son of Jacob, with a ser­ pent (Genesis 49:17) but no women. Proverbs 30:18f. compares the serpent's crawl over a rock to "the way of a man with a maid." And John 3:14-15, as noted, takes the brazen serpent in the desert as an anticipatory figure for Christ.
Non-Christian serpents had masculine associations, but not exclusively.
Athena appears holding a serpent nearly as often as with her primary mascot, the owl - and that freestanding serpent doesn't even count the Gorgon head on her breastplate wreathed with snakes. Minoan paintings show women holding serpents. Outside Greece there are the Egyptian snake goddesses Kebechet and Renenutet, the Hindu Manasa, and the Mahayana Buddhist Janguli. The Canaanite goddess Hepat is depicted holding serpents.

The Nietzschean serpent denies the biblical interpretation of it as per­verse and foul, but along with knowledge and eternity it also preserves its biblical masculinity. The terrifying snake that brings news of the eternal return (Z:3 "On the Vision and the Riddle") thrusts phallically into the young shepherd's mouth in a scene tense with ambiguous language. There is an intimacy between the shepherd and Zarathustra that they seem to need the snake to help them accomplish.

Does the point need to be harped on? Does it matter in the end if the anti­-Christian serpent preponderates over the non-Christian one? Anti-Christian Zarathustra's own serpent, homier and unaggressive, represents in spite of die Schlange's grammatical femininity a desexualized male comradeship. In the prologue, Zarathustra sees his eagle flying with his serpent coiled around its neck - "like a friend," the book says ( Z: 1 "Zarathustra's Prologue" 10) - no threat of either death or copulation in this embrace.

In Part 4 of Zarathustra, camaraderie goes as far as it can, considering that almost no one listens to Zarathustra and that those who do listen garble his teaching. Zarathustra dispatches the magician and beggar and other charac­ters to his cave. He tells these would-be followers, all of them men, that they must learn from his animals. To someone who has read this far in the book, that specifically means that they need to learn of the eternal return from his serpent.

Both the deadly animal and the tame one therefore unite men in learning about eternity. As a phallic image the serpent homosexualizes relations among men; as an emblem of wisdom it desexualizes them. However, in general, the Christian serpent, though otherwise transformed, continues to block the news of eternity from passing between men and women." [ib.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:16 pm

Halcyon bird.

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Quote :
"At least three times, Nietzsche empha­sizes that the book he regards as the "greatest gift to mankind" - to modern humans, who, in his view, are in need of deeper contact with the wild animal world - will fall on deaf ears unless one hears a certain tone for which this bird is famed. As he says about Zarathustra in Ecce Homo:

Here no "prophet" is speaking, none of those gruesome hybrids of sickness and will to power whom people call founders of religions. Above all, one must hear aright the tone that comes from this mouth, the halcxon tone, lest one should do wretched injustice to the meaning of its wisdom. (EH P 4)

Nietzsche the musician, the lover of song and opera, with their deployment of the female (human) voice, imagines himself becoming a bird, one renowned for its song throughout the ancient world. The cry of the halcyon (or kingfisher) was said to be remarkably haunting, plaintive, and melan­choly, while the halcyon days are bright, calm, and peaceful; Nietzsche writes of "that which is really noble in a work or human being, the moment when their sea is smooth and they have found halcyon self-sufficiency" (BGE 224). His frequent evocations of the halcyon are most obviously associated with the latter, but we may assume that both senses are relevant and that the very interplay of the two, as in the myth, is typically at work. The songs of Zara­thustra include laments and are often tinged with melancholy. The halcyon has both a spatial/visual aspect and an auditory one. The play between these is evident in several texts where Nietzsche writes of the halcyon element in the music of Mendelssohn and its absence in Wagner.

The refrain, Deleuze and Guattari point out, whether animal or human, is a primordial way of marking territory and making art. One of Nietzsche's ways of becoming-animal is to sing the world, something that he attempts both in his own musical compositions (in the narrow sense), in his poetry, and, most to the point here, in the songs of Zarathustra. Might Nietzsche, with his talk of a new lyre, be thinking of Zarathustra (or himself) as a new Orpheus, whose song could charm the beasts and the birds ? After the revela­ tion of "The Convalescent," it is Zarathustra's chattering (not singing) ani­ mals that urge him to speak no more but to fashion new songs with a new lyre. He proceeds to do so in a series of three songs. These songs are sung in response to the terrible thought of recurrence, the thought whose conse­ quence is that I am always .becoming another. If Nietzsche expressed this eventually in the "mad" form "I am all the names of history," he might, as we shall see, have also said "I am all the names of natural history." The last of the three songs is called "The Seven Seals" in parodic reference to the otherworldly and decidedly anti-animal Christian Revelation. This song cel­ ebrates "bird-wisdom" and can be read as alluding to many features of the Alcyone story: freedom from geographical constraints, a magnificently end­ less world of sea and sky, marriage and maternity, and the supremacy of song. This final strophe in the last song of the cycle culminates in a lyric that aspires to birdsong:

If ever I spread tranquil skies over myself and soared on my own wings into my own skies; if I swam playfully in the deep light-distances, and the bird-wisdom of my freedom came-but bird-wisdom speaks thus: "Behold, there is no above, no below! Throw yourself around, out back, you who are light! Sing! Speak no more ! Are not all words made for the grave and heavy? Are not all words lies to those who are light? Sing! Speak no more ! " Oh, how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of recurrence ?

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: for I love you, 0 eternity. (Z:3 "The Seven Seals" 1 )

For this Zarathustra-Nietzsche-becoming-bird, sea and sky are no longer the formless opposites of the land with its definite contours, but the dimensions open to a flying creature, which finds its home everywhere and nowhere ("no above, no below!"). Ifthe latter was the (non)location of Cusanus's god, who was still all too spiritual, now it is envisioned in embodied terms as the play­ ground of a bird-sage who moves and sings effortlessly, nomadically, to terri­ torialize, deterritorialize, and reterritorialize itself with its surroundings. Bird­ wisdom, insofar as it speaks, does so in order to renounce mere speech for song. The bird's flight and its song are forms of pure excess. It is not filling a lack or struggling simply to exist; it is overflowing with energy. In the story ofAlcyone, the bird's life is geared to the cycle of the sun, itself the excessive energy source for all animal life and so the object of Zarathustra's veneration. It is at the sun's lowest point, the winter solstice, that the halcyon bird helps to celebrate nature's fecundity and rebirth with its miraculous nesting and hatching of young. Nietzsche was doubtless annoyed that Christianity, with its rejection of animal energy, appropriated this season for its own story of birth. In the sixth of the seven seals, Zarathustra sings "this is my alpha and omega, that all that is heavy and grave should become light; all that is body, dancer; all that is spirit, bird."" [Acampora, A Nietzschean Beastiary]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:03 am

Lyssa wrote:
Dog, Domestication and the Ego


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Quote :
"In Zarathustra's "On the Vision and the Riddle," three animals-a spider, a snake, and a dog-make significant appearances, as do three human or quasi­ human figures-Zarathustra himself, the dwarf known as the Spirit of Grav­ity, and the shepherd who must bite off the head of the snake. Of these ani­ mals, it is the dog who receives the most extended attention. Here, in the passage that along with "The Convalescent" (with its eagle and serpent) is usually and rightly taken to be Nietzsche's most articulate and yet highly veiled approach to explaining the teaching of eternal recurrence, the rid­ dling vision involves animals. This is scarcely the only passage in Nietzsche to deal with the figure of the dog, although it is the one in which the dog has the most active role; frequently the name of the animal appears only in figurative speech. Here, even if the entire passage is a figure for the meaning of recurrence, the dog is as lively and noisy within the text as any of the other protagonists. Unfolding the vision and the riddle, or perhaps at least discovering what questions it asks, requires a confrontation with the figures of the animals and that howling dog. The parallel passage in The Gay Science (341) includes a demon rather than a dwarf and a spider spinning in the moonlight but no dog and no shepherd choked by a snake. Let us note, before proceeding further, that of all these animals, it is only the dog who is domesticated in the "real world. " Eagles and serpents may speak in fairy tales (or at the beginning of Genesis), but they are fundamentally without lan­ guage, although we suspect that the style of a dog's whining and whimpering and perhaps its howling may have something to do with its domestication.

The need for a more subtle exploration of the role of the animal in the pre­ sentation of the thought of recurrence emerges when we realize that nowhere in Nietzsche's published writings is the teaching ever articulately affirmed by a human voice; yet in the two chapters of Zarathustra just mentioned, its dra­ matic presentation is staged with diverse animals. The discussion of recur­rence in "On the Vision and the Riddle" reaches a turning point when the Marchen-like dwarf has just "murmured contemptuously 'All truth is crooked; time itself is a circle.'" Zarathustra's reply to this reductionistic oversimplification is to pose a series of questions with very little in the way of affirmation, his last question being "must we not eternally return?" But he tells his audience-the searchers, researchers, and guessers of riddles-that with such questions his voice became increasingly soft, for he was afraid of his own thoughts and the thoughts behind them.

It is with this cessation of the voice that suddenly I heard a dog howl nearby. Had I ever heard a dog howl like this? My thoughts raced back. Yes, when I was a child, in the most distant moment of child­ hood: then I heard a dog howl like this. And I saw him too, bristling, his head up, trembling, in the stillest moonlight, when even dogs believe in ghosts-and I took pity: for just then the full moon, silent as death, passed over the house; just then it stood still, a round glow-still on the flat roof, as if on another's property-that was why the dog was terrified, for dogs believe in thieves and ghosts. And when I heard such howling again I took pity again.

On one level this records an experience of deja vu. Zarathustra sees and hears a dog howling just as he did when he was a small child. It does not seem to be an identical repetition of the same experience, for the dog of childhood memory howled as the moon rose over a house; here there is no house and the moon had already risen, for the spider was spinning its web in the moon­ shine ( although since we are dealing with the comparison of a vision and an early childhood memory recollected within that vision, we must be cautious when speaking of identity and comparison).

So far the dog is just a marker of such an experience, an experience that might indicate the possibility of a stricter form of recurrence, one that might require great courage and resolu­tion to comprehend and internalize. But what is a dog, this domesticated animal, that whimpers, whines, and howls, believes in ghosts and thieves, bristles and trembles? Does the dog tell us something about the human ego, its breeding and training? In a note for Zarathustra, Nietzsche writes: "And wherever I climb, my dog follows me everywhere; he is called 'ego' " (KSA 10:4[188]). We imagine ourselves as sovereign individuals who train the lesser animals. In fact when we "train" dogs, we ourselves are being trained to be dog trainers and owners (as anybody who has been to obedience school with their pet can testify). The ego too is something that has been bred, appearing first in the herd. Zarathustra is quite clear, by the way, about seeing early humans as herd animals rather than pack animals such as dogs:

The delight in the herd is more ancient than the delight in the ego [Ich]; and as long as the good conscience is identified with the herd, only the bad conscience says: I [Ich]. . . . Verily, the clever ego, the loveless ego that desires its own profit in the profit of the many-that is not the origin of the herd but its going under. (Z:l "On the Thousand and One Goals")

Dogs were once wolves, beasts of prey; now they are domesticated, like too many human beings. Indeed, our experience of domesticating and training dogs has served as an implicit model for training humans. There is no doubt about the baneful aspects of the process: "Virtue is what makes modest and tame: with it they make the wolf into a dog and man himself into man's best domestic animal" (2:3 "Of the Virtue That Makes Small"). However, it is just the domestication of humans that leads to such astonishing results as an animal that is capable of making promises and that is therefore pregnant with a future beyond the alternatives of domestication, the herd, or the pack (GM Il:l).


Part of life's difficulty for most people most of the time is that they fail to see the ego as a dog. Aphorism 312 of Gay Science reads:
"My dog.-I have given a name to my pain and call it 'dog.' It is just as faithful, just as obtrusive and shameless, just as entertaining, just as clever as any other dog-and I can scold it and vent my bad mood on it, as others do with their dogs, servants, and wives." How liberating it would be if we could see our "pain"-the su:m of our resentments and frustrations, for example-as a dog that frequently amuses us but needs to be kept in its place and can serve as an outlet for our bad temper. This would be far superior to seeing ourselves as identical with the pain, and the same holds true for our relation to the ego, which follows us about like a dog.

The dog is rather consistently a figure of slavish obedience, as contrasted with other animals. A note from the first half of 1883 praises the superior strength and fitness of beasts of prey (Raubtiere) and explains that cats and dogs are both degenerate (entartete) versions of such beasts (KSA 10:7[42]). Yet Nietzsche admires the playfulness and cunning of the cat, while having some reservations about its dishonesty. One might say that the dog does not have enough imagination for the feline style of dishonesty. In the epilogue to The Wanderer and His Shadow, as the light is failing the Wanderer takes leave of the Shadow, who has been dogging his steps and thoughts for a whole long day. Rejecting the Shadow's tentative offer to be his slave, the Wanderer replies:

[T]he sight of one unfree would embitter me for all my joy; I would find even the best things repulsive if someone hail to share them with me-I want no slaves around me. That is why I will not have even a dog, that lazy tail-wagging parasite who has become "doglike" only through being the slave of man and who is even commended for loyalty to his master and willingness to follow him like his-

"Like his shadow," his fading companion completes the sentence and goes on to compare himself with a dog lying at his master's feet and then with the "philosophical 'dog' " Diogenes, the Cynic, or canine, who asked Alexander the Great to step out of his light. The Cynics can be taken to be doglike not only in their espousal of a "back to nature" lifestyle and their contempt for culture but also in their retention and exaggeration of the "I," that individu­ ality that they seek to preserve by doing without, living in tubs, and express­ ing their disdain for a society that has taught them to be the dogs that they are.5

From the beginning of Zarathustra, the shepherd, always associated with his dog, has been an object of suspicion. After Zarathustra has carried away and buried the tightrope walker-who is mockingly called a "dead dog" by one of the townsfolk-he codifies his new insight: "[L]et Zarathustra speak not to the people but to companions [Gefi]. Zarathustra shall not become the shepherd and dog of a herd [einer Heerde Hirt und Hund]" (Z:P 9). In the notes for Zarathustra, Nietzsche writes, "If you want to take life easy, always stay with the herd. Forget yourself in the herd! Love the shep­ herd and respect his dog's bite!" (KSA 10:4[38]). Yet ifthe trained dog is not the ideal companion, the way of liberation does not involve setting the wild dogs loose from their imprisonment in their cellars. This is what Zarathustra teaches the pale youth in "On the Tree on the Mountainside," whose imagination of freeing his imprisoned instincts still reflects a prison mentality. From the post-human perspective of the Obermensch, the human ego will appear as a result of training and breeding not dissimilar to that of the train­ ing and breeding of dogs. We may imagine that our discipline is directed toward others, but it is directed just as much toward ourselves. Michel Fou­ cault helps to show this, following Nietzsche, in Discipline and Punish; in The History ofSexuality, he argues that what we conventionally take to be libera­ tory, the discourse of sexuality in modem therapeutic theory and practice, is in fact a disciplining of individuals and part of a biopower directed toward certain populations.6

There is nothing wrong with the herd as such. It is simply the condition of the animal. The problem arises when the individual claims to be an inde­ pendent "I" or ego but continues to think, feel, and live, unbeknownst to herself, as a member of the herd. So it becomes possible to speak of "the herd of independent minds." In their domesticated state, dogs frequently live as solitary pets. Their owners find them charmingly individual and human, thus confirming their sense of their own individuality. But what if that vaunted individuality were something into which they had been domesticated and trained, as obedience school teaches them to be good dog owners? In a lib­ eral, democratic, consumer society one expresses one's individuality in one's style of consumption, one's vote at the polls, one's choice of entertain­ ment-the content may vary from person to person, but not the general matrix within which choices, conscious or unconscious, are made. Another note of Nietzsche's puts the point succinctly:

"Once the ego [das Ich] was hidden in the herd: and now the herd is still hidden in the ego" (KSA 10:5[1] 273).

Dogs over the years have been bred to be amenable to certain forms of training; this is the herd that lies hidden in the family pet. Humans over the years have also been bred to be amenable to certain kinds of training, and this is the herd that lies hidden in what we call education and freedom. So when Nietzsche notoriously speaks of the desirability of "breeding" human beings of a certain sort, he does so at a certain point in a long history in which breeding has proceeded in a happenstance and unreflective fashion.

"Dogs believe in thieves and ghosts." Both are intruders who do not belong, even if one is "real" and the other not. It is a philosophical joke of Plato's, in the Republic (376a), that the dog is the most philosophical animal because it distinguishes friend and foe on the basis of knowledge. These are the friends and enemies of the house, the domus, and this knowledge of the watchdog is a domesticated knowledge. In the episode of "The Leech" in Z, we hear that it is a matter of accident whether a particular man and a particular dog become friends or enemies. Nietzsche never tires of pointing out how we (and all animals) require simplified schemas of recognition in order to get on with the business of life. These schemas are both necessary and problematic; they provide quick and easy means of sorting things out, while they channel attention in predetermined ways and so hinder fresher, more spontaneous responses. The ghost is the intruder par excellence, the reifica­ tion and fetishization of whatever is other and incomprehensible.

Having focused on the howling dog and the childhood memory it evokes, Zarathustra realizes that the dwarf, the spider, and the gateway have all disap­ peared-but not the dog, whose howling indicates the plight of the shepherd choking on a snake: "But there lay a man. And there-the dog, jumping, bris­ tling, whining-now he saw me coming; then he howled again, he cried. Had I ever heard a dog cry like this for help? And verily, what I saw-I had never seen the like." The watchdog, probably the shepherd's dog, his loyal and faithful ego, knows that something is terribly wrong. He seems to recognize Zarathustra as a possible friend or helper. Many commentators on this pas­ sage assert without argument that the shepherd is Zarathustra's double, who dramatizes the difficulty of acknowledging and confronting the thought of recurrence. If this is so, then we could think of the dog as his own ego, appalled and confused by those thoughts that had led to his falling silent in the colloquy with the dwarf. Why should the thought of recurrence make the ego cry desperately for help? In a note from August 1881, just a few days after the first jottings in Nietzsche's notebooks on the thought of recurrence, he writes of a series of errors, schemas of recognition and conceptualization, including that of individuality:

The species is the cruder error, the individual the more refined error, it comes later. The individual struggles for its existence, for its new taste, for its relatively unique position among all things-it considers these as better than the universal taste and despises the latter. It wants to rule. But then it discovers that it itself is something changing and has a taste that changes, with its subtlety it sees into the secret that there is no individual, that in the smallest twinkling of the eye [im kleinsten Augen­ blick] it is something other than it is in the next and that its conditions of existence are those of no end of individuals: der unendlich kleine Augenblick is the higher reality and truth, a lightning image [Blitzbild] out of the eternal flow [Fluss]. So the individual learns: how all satisfying knowledge rests on the crude error of the spe­ cies, the subtler error of the individual and the subtlest error of the creative Augen­ blick. (KSA 9:11(156])

We are constrained to think in terms of species: humans, dogs, elephants, leeches, and so on. But as both Darwinian biology and the Nietzschean ontology of differential will to power imply, the species is simply a conve­ nient fiction. In the light of such a realization, we may come to give pride of ontological and ethical place to the individual, the "I." But to think recur­ rence, as the shepherd and Zarathustra struggle to do, takes us beyond the individual, beyond the dog we call "ego." To affirm recurrence is to give equal weight to all my experiences, both before and after thinking the thought. It leads to no coherent narrative ofmy own life but suggests that I am immersed in the stream of becoming. If "the innocence of becoming" frees me from guilt, it also radically transforms the very terms of "I" and "me" with which I began to pose such questions-the thoughts and hinter-thoughts that were interrupted by the howling dog. In the conversation with the dwarf, it was suggested that the passing moment or twinkling of the eye (Augenblick) is that which eternally recurs.

Perhaps that too was a necessary oversimplifica­ tion; the closest approximation to the real that escapes conceptualization. Once the shepherd bites off and spews out the head of the snake we hear no more of the noisy dog. If this biting and spewing involves acknowledging the anti-individualistic thrust of the teaching of recurrence, the role of the domesticated ego necessarily falls away. And the shepherd, in his superhu­ man laughter, becomes something other than a shepherd. He will no longer be either domesticated or domesticator, for reflection on the canine condi­tion reveals that these are two sides of the same coin." [Gary Shapiro; Acampora, A Nietzschean Bestiary]

One can observe the dog take on the personality, physiognomy, of its owner: a sort of alter ego.

Women especially fair well with having a dog around when testing for potential mates: the dog's primal instincts can triumph over the female's clouded perception.

I personally don't need a dog's nose to sense for me when there's shit around.
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:26 am

Where are you quoting from?
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:40 am

Speaking of which.
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 1:50 pm

Quote :
Other passages in part 2 adumbrate the serpent of the vision and riddle.  In the “Child with the Mirror,” Zarathustra is impatient to rejoin his disciples and wants to reach them quickly.  “I leap into your chariot, storm!  And even you I will whip on with my venom!”  This mixed metaphor connects the whip and the snake, the snake and Zarathustra himself, and recalls the extratextual photography of Lou Salome in the “chariot” with her whip.  The venom in this case is efficacious, capable of energizing even the horsepower of a storm.

Quote :
One more contribution to serpent lore seems to epitomize the archetypal significance humans have always ascribed to these most inscrutable, more numinous of animals, and to connect with Zarathustra’s strange vision.  This is Francis Huxley’s summary of ancient meanings of “primal serpents”:  “The main characteristic of primal serpents is their habit of swallowing everything, so that they have to be killed to make themselves disgorge.  This is traditionally interpreted in one of two ways:  either the killing of the serpent and the resultant flood of waters signifies the birth of a child from its mother, or it refers to the symbolic ejaculation of the Sky Father, which produces rain and children impartially.”  To this Huxley adds on further detail: the soul of a “dead man is regularly figured as a snake or dragon.  The dragon brings children, as it does to the Aborigines, which tells us that the dead are also the unborn” (89).  The connection between the dead and the unborn, mediated by the serpent, seems a good description of Zarathustra’s eternal return.

Quote :
Actually accepting one’s own mortality, rather than merely talking about doing so and theorizing its consequences, is as hard, and as repulsive, as biting the head off a snake, the riddle seems to say.

It is also as physical as the pain of childbirth.  Clearly, childbirth is one of the referents for this riddle, where the prone shepherd is the woman, the mouth of the vagina ( a common dream transposition from the lower to the upper part of the body), the serpent is the umbilicus, the bite cuts the umbilicus, and the laughing figure is the child.  A point of reference or a model for such a birth might be that of the Theogony, where Kronos gives birth to his children though his mouth.  Using Huxley’s account of the myth of freeing the waters, the serpent has to be cut into (or in two) in order to release the new life.

Quote :
Zarathustra’s riddle parodies what Nietzsche knew of the Eleusinian mysteries; he mentions the “grotesque hieroglyphics of their rites” (PTAG 33) and then produces a “vision” to which these terms clearly apply.  Certainly the shepherd chocking on a long black snake is grotesque.  Laughter has ancient associations with fertility; gazing on Baubo’s belly or pubis, Demeter, so the story goes, burst out laughing and thus broke the drought, restoring fertility to the land.  The vision at the mysteries was accompanied, according to sources, by a dazzling light.  If the laughing figure surrounded by light symbolizes the Ubermench, then the Ubermench is joy that comes with woe (the serpent), transforms the woe, and joyfully, laughingly, affirms life as its own justification.  It is hard to imagine this kind of laughter, unless one thinks of the wholly joyful laugh of a baby.  After all, Zarathustra’s vision is a prophecy and the beginning of a new ideal – or the reintroduction of a very old one – that is desperately difficult for Zarathustra to articulate.  However, this prophetic ideal tells Zarathustra, and us, that he will overcome the horror of his task and become who he is: the advocate of life, the advocate of suffering, the advocate of the circle.
-Nietzsche on Gender: Beyond Man and Woman
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:18 pm

Quote :

Does the point need to be harped on? Does it matter in the end if the anti­-Christian serpent preponderates over the non-Christian one? Anti-Christian Zarathustra's own serpent, homier and unaggressive, represents in spite of die Schlange's grammatical femininity a desexualized male comradeship. In the prologue, Zarathustra sees his eagle flying with his serpent coiled around its neck - "like a friend," the book says ( Z: 1 "Zarathustra's Prologue" 10) - no threat of either death or copulation in this embrace.

In Part 4 of Zarathustra, camaraderie goes as far as it can, considering that almost no one listens to Zarathustra and that those who do listen garble his teaching. Zarathustra dispatches the magician and beggar and other charac­ters to his cave. He tells these would-be followers, all of them men, that they must learn from his animals. To someone who has read this far in the book, that specifically means that they need to learn of the eternal return from his serpent.

Both the deadly animal and the tame one therefore unite men in learning about eternity. As a phallic image the serpent homosexualizes relations among men; as an emblem of wisdom it desexualizes them. However, in general, the Christian serpent, though otherwise transformed, continues to block the news of eternity from passing between men and women."

Seems like a big leap to infer "like a friend" as desexualized... And I don't see how this would homosexualize relations among men...

A little later the author says,

Quote :
The misfit between eternity and a masculine, infertile serpent is not the inadvertent effect of taking over a biblical image and negating some, but not all, of its aspects until a contradiction appears.  The serpent’s concatenation of attributes rather reflects a positive effort to keep procreation out of the picture even when it is the picture of a fertility symbol.

I think the quotes in my previous post put this assertion to the test.

It should also be noted that the author refers to Nietzsche's "misogyny" in the book.

Quote :
“Although it is clearly not the only source of Nietzsche’s misogyny, we shall see below that this belief explains an important part of Nietzsche’s hostility toward women”
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:20 pm

perpetualburn wrote:
Quote :

Does the point need to be harped on? Does it matter in the end if the anti­-Christian serpent preponderates over the non-Christian one? Anti-Christian Zarathustra's own serpent, homier and unaggressive, represents in spite of die Schlange's grammatical femininity a desexualized male comradeship. In the prologue, Zarathustra sees his eagle flying with his serpent coiled around its neck - "like a friend," the book says ( Z: 1 "Zarathustra's Prologue" 10) - no threat of either death or copulation in this embrace.

In Part 4 of Zarathustra, camaraderie goes as far as it can, considering that almost no one listens to Zarathustra and that those who do listen garble his teaching. Zarathustra dispatches the magician and beggar and other charac­ters to his cave. He tells these would-be followers, all of them men, that they must learn from his animals. To someone who has read this far in the book, that specifically means that they need to learn of the eternal return from his serpent.

Both the deadly animal and the tame one therefore unite men in learning about eternity. As a phallic image the serpent homosexualizes relations among men; as an emblem of wisdom it desexualizes them. However, in general, the Christian serpent, though otherwise transformed, continues to block the news of eternity from passing between men and women."

Seems like a big leap to infer "like a friend" as desexualized... And I don't see how this would homosexualize relations among men...


ha, I know; naturally I take it loosely,, I understand the homo. remark to mean his saying, "camaraderie goes as far as it can, considering that almost no one listens to Zarathustra and that those who do listen garble his teaching." They are "over-involved" with one another, Zarathustra's words are lost on them. Speaking of leap, check this out...

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:20 pm

perpetualburn wrote:
Quote :
Other passages in part 2 adumbrate the serpent of the vision and riddle.  In the “Child with the Mirror,” Zarathustra is impatient to rejoin his disciples and wants to reach them quickly.  “I leap into your chariot, storm!  And even you I will whip on with my venom!”  This mixed metaphor connects the whip and the snake, the snake and Zarathustra himself, and recalls the extratextual photography of Lou Salome in the “chariot” with her whip.  The venom in this case is efficacious, capable of energizing even the horsepower of a storm.


Precious connection, thanks.

The horse's 'whip'-crack then is also the feminine snake's 'wise'-crack about the advice Zarathustra receives.

The whip-crack is startling and such shock is a pause and a freezing, a space through which wisdom enters within a blink. Odin was called the Binder for freezing his enemies with swiftness that is his battle-magic.

Shocks are Plutonic.
They break open our unconscious and the repressed venom flows out or is flushed out in night-Mares. Interesting passage connects earth-quakes and "psyhic tremors" with demonic horses and Odin as a conductor:

Quote :
"The horse is one of the favourite forms under which "chthonic powers" manifest themselves. Horses are connected with both Hades and the "chthonic" Poseidon, that is Poseidon the Earthshaker, before he moved into the ocean (Malten 196). Death-demons are pictured riding or driving; they can snatch people and carry them off to their realm. (Odin/Wotan snatches people. There are also demonic horses which deliver their masters to the powers of death, as Pegasus did Bellerophontes (Malten 197). The divinity can ride the horse or be the horse, but "the death-horse is more primitive than the divinity." (Malten 208f). The horse can be psychopomp; stelae often show the dead man on horseback, and some of these at least must be, like the Scandinavian carvings showing the mounted hero being welcomed to Valhalla, showing the dead man riding into the au-dela (Malten 234f; Davidson 1993: 33). People sometimes appear after their deaths as ghost-horses; like the death-god, the dead can either ride or be the horse. "In the most ancient conception, both slayer and slain appear in the form of the ghostly horse" (Malten 235); in this the horse is like canis. Odin is indeed the Rider-God. His names are Atridr, "he who rides out to battle" and Fraridr, "Onward-rider" (Simek) or Swift-rider. But he is also Reidartyr, Chariot-god, reminding us that IE warriors and their gods were chariot-warriors before they were riders. Among the Scandinavian rock-carvings are depictions of cult processions with wagons, ships drawn on ledges, and ploughs. We know of a procession with a ship as part of the fertility cult of Nerthus on the Continent (Germania 40). Wheels representing the sun are transported on wagons; later these wheels seem to have been reinterpreted as Wheels of Fortune." [Kris Kershaw, The One-Eyed God: Odin and the Indo-Germanic Mannerbunde]

To the I.E.s, the horse in the wild-hunt symbolized the breaking-open of the earth and the release of the sun from its parting. The birth of hidden poetic wisdom, we call the black sun - illumination from sudden storms; compare:

"Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century a distinct conception of what poets of strong ages called inspiration?  If not, I will describe it.  If one had the slightest residue of superstition left in one, one would hardly be able to set aside the idea that one is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely medium of overwhelming forces.  The concept of revelation, in the sense that something suddenly, with unspeakable certainty and subtlety, becomes visible, audible, something that shakes and overturns one to the depths, simply describes the fact.  One hears, one does not seek; one takes, one does not ask who gives; a thought flashes up like lightning, with necessity, unfalteringly formed – I have never had any choice… The involuntary nature of image, of metaphor, is the most remarkable thing of all; one no longer has any idea what is image, what metaphor, everything presents itself as the readiest, the truest, the simplest means of expression.  This is my experience of inspiration; I do not doubt that one has to go back thousands of years to anyone who could say to me ‘it is mine also’." [N., JW]
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Also, with the tremor of the ghost-horse or the phantom-horse:

"If productive power has been blocked for a time and prevented from flowing out by an obstruction, there occurs in the end an effusion so sudden it appears that an immediate inspiration without any preliminary labour, that is to say a miracle, has taken place. This constitutes the familiar deception with whose continuance the interest of all artists is, as aforesaid, a little too much involved. The capital has only been accumulated, it did not fall from the sky all at once. Similar apparent inspiration is also to be found in other domains, for example in that of goodness, virtue, vice." [N., HATH, 155-56]

I would connect this further with the concept of greek "Thelgein" and *bewitchment* as a kind of metis; excellent book:
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The furor of the storm-horse is a zig-zag, like metis.


Quote :
-Nietzsche on Gender: Beyond Man and Woman

Do you have a pdf of this book?
Thanks for the much food for thought on the snake; I'll have to let it linger on in my mind. What's interesting in the Beastiary book I quote makes no mention of Medusa at all in relation to the snake! Klossowski completes that part with his thoughts on medusa's laughter and the poison transvalued by the ER.

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:21 pm

phoneutria wrote:
Where are you quoting from?

The OP is mine; the rest as *already sourced* at the end of every post? is from Acampora's book 'A Nietzschean Beastiary', tease.

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:22 pm

Supra-Aryanist wrote:


One can observe the dog take on the personality, physiognomy, of its owner: a sort of alter ego.

Yes; why dogs along with wolves were the berserker's masks; "hell-hounds" that helped trace the "lost" in the "dark" functioning as the warrior's alter/double.

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Priceless book:
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Quote :
I personally don't need a dog's nose to sense for me when there's shit around.

You didnt pay attention to the excerpt then; its not the sense of smell, but the keen sense of Sight (and sight with N. always involves ears) that Zarathustra attributes to the dog, which can sense the invisible and ghostly presences and howls...

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:23 pm

Cows.


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Quote :
""To be sure, one thing is necessary above all if one is to practice reading as an art in this way, something that has been unlearned most thoroughly now­ adays-and therefore it will be some time before my writings are "read­ able"-something for which one has almost to be a cow and in any case not a "modern man": rumination." [GM]


We find that the cow serves many roles in Nietzsche's works: from comforting familiar (providing a sense of warmth to one suffering from chills and mis­trust) to carrier of the bankrupt morality of the herd ( "Except we turn back and become as cows, we shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" [Z:4 "The Voluntary Beggar"]), and, as above, as an example of how to read.
Nietzsche insists that when we read him we ruminate; that is, approach the text as if one were a cow. Zarathustra himself demonstrates his proclivity for such a contemplative awareness when he reflects on the words of others: "What strange people have I found to talk with! Now I shall long chew their words like good grains; my teeth shall grind them and crush them small till they flow like milk into my soul" (Z:4 "The Ugliest Man"). What if Nietz­ sche were one of these "strange persons" whose words we have to crush until they yield sweet milk? What if one was to ruminate on the role of this rumi­ nating creature itself in Nietzsche's bestiary?

When Nietzsche reflects on his Zarathustra in Ecce Homo, he writes of the "rancor of greatness," the awful price one pays for creating great art, of the distance he feels between himself and others, and of the empty gazes he encountered. He also writes about suffering from a variety of physical ail­ ments and his susceptibility to "feeling chills as well as mistrust-mistrust that is in many instances merely an etiological blunder." Then comes this surprising sentence: "In such a state I once sensed the proximity of a herd of cows even before I saw it, merely because milder and more philanthropic thoughts came back to me: they had warmth" (EH "Books" Z:S). Hypersensi­tive to his natural surroundings - to landscape, climate, and time of day­ Nietzsche finds solace in nature for his terrible loneliness and inability to communicate with human beings. It is thus that he is captivated by the peaceful, composed strength of the cows. Suffering from silence and solitude and inclined to cold and suspicion, Nietzsche is calmed and softened by the mere thought of cows, who communicated warmth to him. This experience underlies "The Voluntary Beggar," in Part 4 of Zarathustra, which begins: "When Zarathustra had left the ugliest man, he felt frozen and lonely: for much that was cold and lonely passed through his mind and made his limbs too feel colder." But as he rambles on, he becomes warmer and heartier: "something warm and alive refreshes me, something that must be near me." As he looks around for the "comforters ofhis lonesomeness" Zarathustra sees cows, those "brothers . . . whose warm breath touches my soul."
In the midst of these kindred souls, he sees a man sitting on the ground trying to persuade the cows not to fear him. This man is the "voluntary beggar" (Preacher-on­ the-Mount), who proclaims that he seeks happiness on earth and believes that the cows can teach it to him. He is angry because the cows were about to speak when Zarathustra intruded. "Except we turn back and become as cows," the beggar preaches, "we shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. For we ought to learn one thing from them: chewing the cud. And verily, what would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and did not learn this one thing: chewing the cud!"

When he recognizes that the intruder is no stranger, but Zarathustra him­ self, the beggar jumps up in reverence. This "voluntary beggar" had given his wealth and heart to the poor only to be spurned by them and had turned instead to the animals and "to these cows." Humans, poor or rich, are not blessed, he declares, "but the kingdom ofheaven is among the cows." After Zarathustra chides him for his severity and anger, the beggar acknowledges his softer nature and says he seeks "gentle idlers and loafers." Hence the cows: " [T]hey invented for themselves chewing the cud and lying in the sun. And they abstain from all grave thoughts, which bloat the heart." At this, Zarathustra invites the beggar to his cave to talk of the "happiness of ani­ mals" with his own animals, the serpent and eagle, and he urges the "strange" one to leave his cows. This will be difficult: "For they are your warmest friends and teachers." "Excepting one whom I love still more," answers the beggar: "You yourself are good, and even better than a cow, 0 Zarathustra."

What is it that makes Zarathustra better than a cow? Perhaps all his rumi­ nating has brought him not only the quiet warmth of the cows but also tran­ scendence beyond mute/brute nature into the realm of eternal return. In preaching this greatest truth, the truth of the eternal return, and by conceiv­ ing "the totality of natural existence as an enormous interplay of dynamic and differential forces," Zarathustra "can advance an account of material reality as an ever-changing aggregation and reaggregation of force or energy." For the beggar, Zarathustra's teaching of the eternal return gives even more comfort than the peaceful cows. Yet Zarathustra finds no consola­tion in this teaching, because it would also require the eternal return of the small human, the Last Man, who, even though God is dead, lives by princi­ples of good and evil. Zarathustra himself is partly to blame for the existence of these small humans, because he had thus far taught a dualistic theology. His mistake comes back to haunt him now as he contemplates endless gener­ations of dualistically inclined human beings. His animals (oh those famil­iars, perhaps the hidden gods?) recognize his terror and tell him to think in a new way, beyond metaphysical dualities. "Do not speak on!" they cry, "rather even, 0 convalescent, fashion yourself a lyre first, a new lyre! For behold, Zarathustra, new lyres are needed for your new songs. Sing and over­ flow, 0 Zarathustra; cure your soul with new songs that you may bear your great destiny." It is a dangerous destiny, perhaps the great destiny Zarathustra prayed for. The teaching of the eternal return is Zarathustra's destiny, yet the very thought of it makes him queasy: "[H]ow could this great destiny not be your greatest danger and sickness too?" (Z:3 "The Convalescent").

Zarathustra's sickness is caused by the metaphysical dualism of the small human, the dualism of good and evil, and he must overcome it to fulfill his destiny. It is because he needs to overcome this way of thinking that he went to the mountain of the god Dionysus, the god of disintegration. Zarathustra is nauseated by his civilization and the thought of its eternal recurrence. Insofar as he himself preaches dualism, Zarathustra is also a sick man. There is a division in his soul and a division in the body social, and it cannot be healed in any of the ways Zarathustra has attempted to heal it; the gods are dead and utopian fantasies for the future are the fantasies of the Last Men. The only thing that can heal the sickness of the age (the illness that results from a sense of fragmentation and alienation from the cycle of life) is an overcoming of dualism and a transcending of the small human. This requires that we go beyond the ossified trappings of a used-up religion and blind devo­ tion to science and that we sing "new songs." Until he sings these new songs, Zarathustra and his civilization will be ill, but ill in the sense that pregnancy is an illness. Zarathustra hasn't yet overcome dualism, but he prepares the way for the one who will: the overman. It is the birth of the overman that will renew an affirmation of life for a whole civilization.

In the Prologue to Zarathustra, the ancient wise one is descending from his mountain retreat to bring his "gift of honey" to the world. He enters the town of The Motley Cow, hoping to find someone there to accept his offer­ ing. What is this honey? What town is this? Perhaps the gift is semen, and Zarathustra is bringing inseminating words to the mother of the overman. Could it also be the gift of milk, nourishing our souls? In Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche argues that if you become a wanderer (like Zarathustra, perhaps), your life will obtain new meaning, and "the clouds of affliction hovering over you will yet have to serve you as udders from which you will milk the milk for your refreshment" (HH 292). Here and in other places, Nietzsche uses many images of cups overflowing, udders being full to the point of pouring out, even into the galaxy. Could the honey be wine, the gift of the god Dionysus, intoxicating us now not with alcohol, but with the vision of joy? "I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star" (Z:P 5)." [Acampora, A Nietzschean Beastiary]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:35 pm

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Do you have a pdf of this book?

I don't think there is one, unfortunately.
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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:22 pm

Camel, Lion, Child


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"Zarathustra has a prolonged vision of a powerful yellow lion with a thick warm mane of hair and a gentle roar. In an allusion back to N ietzsche's famous first image of jungle cats-the tigers and panthers that lie down fawning at the feet of the Dionysian man (BT 20)-this lion lies at Zarathustra's feet, lovingly presses his head against his knee, and will not leave him. As in Homer's tale of Odysseus's return home, the lion behaves like a dog that has found his old master again. Fulfilling Zarathustra's announcement that his final descent must wait until he has received the sign of the laughing lion with the flock of doves (2:3 "On Old and New Tablets" 1), the lion literally laughs in wonder every time one of the newly arrived flocking doves glides across his nose. Although Zarathustra first recognized this lion in the dark through touching and hearing him, he then sees him clearly in the light of dawn and realizes that his sign has arrived. This means that he is now ripe and that he will soon be reunited with the beloved disci­ ples for whom he has longingly been waiting on his mountain (2:4 "The Greeting"). At this thought, Zarathustra is so overcome with emotion that he begins crying tears, which the shyly growling lion licks off his hands. But upon hearing the higher men approach, the strong lion starts violently, turns away from Zarathustra, and leaps up to the cave roaring fiercely until the frightened higher men flee back inside.

It is surely significant that Nietzsche chooses to conclude his entire book-the book he considered his best and most important-with this extremely vivid and concrete articulation of the schematic lion figure intro­ duced in Zarathustra's first speech. This final emphasis is narratively complex because it includes all at once Zarathustra, his work, and the disciples he calls his children. Most obviously, Nietzsche aims to show us the spiritual transformation within Zarathustra himself. After meditating upon his vision, and like the lion within this vision, the newly hardened and bronze-faced Zarathustra leaps up and shouts out his determination to stop empathizing with the higher men he has been shepherding (finding, gathering, feeding) throughout Part 4. Strong as a lion, and indifferent to his own happiness, Zarathustra cries out his renewed dedication to his arriving children and to the work he must now complete in his dawning great-noon day. This work, we know, consists partly in the lion-spirited assault on the great value-dragon that he had anticipated in his very first speech. And these children, we know, are the disciples he had said would accompany him in this assault and hence be regarded as lion-like predatory robbers and destroyers (Z:P 9). Indeed, since Zarathustra had earlier called his children "laughing lions" (Z: 4 "The Greeting"), and since he takes his vision to be a sign ofhis childrens' proximity, we may infer that Nietzsche's concluding emphasis on the image of the laughing lion is meant to draw our attention as well to Zarathustra's returning disciples. Like the lion in his vision, these disciples will have grown powerful in their time away but no less devoted and loving to their former master. Also like the lion in his vision, they will spurn and terrify the higher men whom they far surpass." [Acampora]


Child and the flux of time

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"Zarathustra's first gift is the story of the great metamorphoses, from camel to lion to child. He bestows this gift upon "the town that is called The Mot­ ley Cow." What is this town, and why does Zarathustra descend here of all places? Is it the city ofThebes, founded by the hero Cadmus?4 This interpre­ tation makes sense for a variety of reasons: as Apollodorus, Hesiod, and oth­ ers tell us, Cadmus founded Thebes and started a new civilization there after following a black and white cow to its destined place. Also, it would follow that Nietzsche would want to return to the territory highlighted in the tragic plays he champions in The Birth of Tragedy , the city of Laius and Joscasta, of Oedipus and Antigone. It is significant that the mountain where Zarathustra resides, Mount Cithaeron, is also the home of the god Dionysus in Greek mythology. It is Dionysus on whom Nietzsche calls at the end of BT: "Thus the Dionysiac element, as against the Apollonian, proves itself to be the eter­ nal and original power of art, since it calls into being the entire world of phenomena." This is not to say that the Apollonian isn't also needed to "catch and hold in life the stream of individual forms," but these two forms have developed out of proportion, with the Apollonian overwhelming the Dionysian (BT 25).

The Birth of Tragedy ended with a hope for a revival of tragedy, which had been destroyed by Socratic reason. Nietzsche endeavors to reawaken the Dionysian spirit in the modem world, the world in which "the inartistic and parasitical nature of Socratic optimism has shown itself both in our art, reduced to mere amusement, and in our lives, governed by empty concepts" (BT 24).
This is the world Nietzsche wants to challenge. He addresses his "friends," those who "believe in Dionysiac music," and claims that this music "inspires the most extravagant hopes and promises oblivion of the bitterest pain." In BT, Nietzsche anticipates that this music will be reborn in his gen­ eration, brought about by those who will destroy the "evil dwarfs" who have kept the "German genius" enslaved (BT 24).

There is little doubt that Nietzsche believed Wagner to be such a savior; however, Wagner disappointed him, so Thus Spoke Zarathustra is Nietzsche's own attempt to bring tragedy back to us. Just as Wagner's Siegfried killed the dwarf, Mime, in The Ring of the Nibelung, so must Nietzsche's Zarathustra kill the "evil dwarf," the spirit of gravity, only now not out of a nationalist inter­ est, but out of a hope for the overcoming of all dwarfish people with the com­ ing of the overman.6 What better place to do this than Thebes? It is the city of wisdom and has a history of being visited by questing heroes and those looking for lost wholeness. The very journey of the first hero, Cadmus, is founded on a loss, that ofhis sister, Europa (his feminine side), who has been carried off by the god Zeus. This is the first fragmentation Cadmus experi­ ences, as the theft splits him into the dualities of "male" and "female." To reunite these two sides, Cadmus (like all heroes, including Zarathustra him­ self) must become a dragon-slayer and fight the ossified ways of the "being" in favor of the challenge of becoming.

Cadmus is a mythical hero, vanquishing those who trap the divine wis­ dom and bringing it down from the mountain. Zarathustra wants to become yet another mask of this same hero, retracing the steps of Cadmus and pro­ generating a new race. Yet Zarathustra cannot fulfill his mission because he is made impotent by that monster, dualism, which freezes him in the sickness of alienation. This is why his animals told him to make a "new lyre"; just as Cadmus killed the monster Typhus with the lyrical music of Zeus's thunder, so now Zarathustra has to reclaim the shattering thunder of the god.

We see that Zarathustra's journey mirrors Cadmus's again with the story of Cadmus's defeat of the snake of Ares. With Athena's inspiration, Cadmus stabbed it with the sacrificial knife and cut off its head. This killing signifies the cut that Cadmus must make from the past in order to be reborn in his marriage with Harmony; the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares. It is echoed in Zarathustra's biting off the head of the snake lodged in his throat. Like Cadmus, Zarathustra must also make a cut from the past, destroying the spirit of gravity and nausea that suffocates him. He must kill the idea of the eternal return of the small humans in favor of a world that recognizes the unity behind all dualisms. Hence, the eternal return signifies not the return of our frozen ways of thinking but the endless dance of creation and destruction. It is only once Zarathustra reconceptualizes the eternal return that he can he engage in the divine marriage with life itself. As Paul S. Loeb finds, rather than affirming the eternal return of that which nauseates him, Zarathustra "learns how to overcome that very thing which he rightly loathes and which rightly induces nausea in him, namely, the eternal recurrence of the small human."7 I would add here that what nauseates Nietzsche about the small human is precisely that he or she does not see that dualisms are illusions and that what eternally returns is life itself. Once Zarathustra realizes this, he becomes the hero; he too can slay dragons and move humanity beyond the dualisms of good and evil, thus the laughter: " With this new laughter, Zara­ thustra mocks and ridicules the small and dwarfish standards by which the spirit of gravity has so far assessed what is good and evil for all." And what of the snake he killed, cutting off its head while leaving the coils writhing? Is this not the snake that lodged in the mouth of the shepherd? The snake he bit? The dismembered snake that sent the shepherd laughing? ls this not the very snake that Zarathustra counsels us to destroy if we want to be reborn?

Just as Cadmus had done long ago, Zarathustra wants to usher in a new spiritual awareness and an age of new gods. What better place to go than the city Cadmus founded, the city of The Motley Cow? It is at once the abode of a herd-like population, following the teachers of virtue and their herd val­ ues, and the place from which higher humanity will arise out of the writings of the hero. We see that by alluding to the myth of the marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Nietzsche is calling us back to the wisdom of tragedy, that art by which the Greeks were "superficial out ofdepth" (the lowly spotted heifer can point us to the divine) (cf. BT). We see that Cadmus brought the written alphabet to the Greeks that allowed them to write not only theogonies but also tragedies. It is the written tragedy and myths that save us from the obliv­ ion of forgetfulness. Individuals die, the mythic hero is reborn. Further, with the written alphabet, we no longer require the full presence of the gods; they become a ladder that can be left behind once we have climbed to the heights of spiritual truth.

Hence we see Nietzsche's call to metamorphosis. We have abandoned the gods, but we have access to their wisdom in the words of the poet, words that can change us by killing the monsters of a frozen language of the common. Zarathustra does not teach the virtue of the Sage, but he does not discount its usefulness, for he knows that virtue can act as the "pedagogical prelude to the culminating insight, which goes beyond all pairs of opposites." The Sage teaches that the youth became camels; but now they need to "go under." Here, we become god-like, for what were the Greek gods if not con­stantly changing shape? - Zeus a swan in this story, a bull in the next. Nietz­sche is calling on us to be like Zeus, to undergo a metamorphosis, to live mythically, and to regain that superficiality that signifies depth. What better place to do it than in the land of the spotted cow? What will cause the birth of such people if not the written word, the gift of Cadmus? Cadmus, who was not only adept at writing but was nursed on the milk of books; Cad­mus, who knew the song of justice and played it on Apollo's harp; Cadmus, who married his words with Harmony, thus bringing poetry to life.

Zarathustra wants to enact a similar marriage. Not only are the people in his "cow country" (Boetia) sleeping but their virtue is the virtue of the herd. They name their virtues, thereby robbing them of their singularity: "[N]ow you have her name in common with the people and have become one of the people and the herd with your virtue." Once this virtue was new and jarring; now it has become commonplace. We must abandon this worn-out virtue and find a new living truth, one that hasn't yet passed into the common currency of language. It is better not to name it, to only speak of it in a stammering voice, saying, "This is my good; this I love; it pleases me wholly; thus alone do I want the good," (Z:1 "On Enjoying and Suffering the Pas­ sions").

This personal virtue is not the virtue of divine commands or human stat­utes; it is the virtue that cannot be spoken, for fear that it be misrepresented. It is a bird that "built its nest with me" and sits on my "golden eggs." It cannot be spoken because it is a truth beyond words, the truth ofthe oneness of good and evil. This is why Zarathustra preaches that we tum our passions into virtue and enjoy them, transforming poisons into balsams, wild dogs into songbirds, and the sour milk of the cow, melancholy, into something sweet. ls this not exactly what Cadmus did when he transformed loss into mythic return with his alphabet? Cadmus, who is the descendent of Io, that great mother cow? Perhaps this is why Zarathustra brings his word to the town of The Motley Cow: in this town they have the written word and can ruminate over Zarathustra's verse-filled with aphorisms, metaphors, and analogies-the stammered words of personal virtue. These are words that seem to display the simple-mindedness of a child, but they contain truths that are too great to be communicated directly: "The trance-susceptible sha­ man and the initiated antelope-priest are not unsophisticated in the wisdom of the world, nor unskilled in the principles of communication by analogy. The metaphors by which they live, and through which they operate, have been brooded upon, searched, and discussed for centuries-even millenni­ ums."

Ruminating on these metaphors (and aphorisms) can facilitate the apprehension of the universality beyond "the colorful, fluid, infinitely various and bewildering phenomenal spectacle" to the truth or openness beyond. This can never be communicated in a straightforward fashion because our "forms of sensibility and the categories of human thought . . . are themselves manifestations of this power." Our ordinary language confines the mind so that it is impossible to communicate such truth, yet analogy can overcome this, for with it, "forms and conceptions that the mind and its senses can comprehend are presented and arranged in such a way as to suggest a truth or openness beyond. And then, the conditions for meditation having been provided, the individual is left alone" (to "ruminate," as it were). Zarathus­ tra doesn't want to be read; he wants to be "learned by heart." It is through his use of metaphors that he can "lure many away from the herd." [Acampora]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*


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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:17 pm

Cats and Felines

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"Who among you can laugh and be elevated at the same time? Whoever climbs the highest mountains laughs at all tragic plays and tragic seriousness." We can laugh at tragic plays and tragic seriousness because we know that life and death are united, that they are different perspectives on the same life force. Once one realizes this, one becomes "well disposed toward life, butterflies and soap bubbles and whatever among men is of their kind seem to know most about happiness" (Z:l "On Reading and Writing"). When one goes beyond dualisms, such as those of good and evil, he or she becomes light, flies to the heights, dances. Rather than being filled with moral indignation or tragic pity and fear, Zarathustra calls on us to laugh the "Olympian laugh," where we see that our sorrows and tears are "suffused with the joy of a tran­ scendent anonymity regarding [ourselves] in all of the self-centered, battling egos that are born and die in time."

This call to transcend dualisms explains Nietzsche's claim that "Woman's love involves injustice and blindness against everything that she does not love. And even in the knowing love of a woman there are still assault and lightening and night alongside light." The "woman" here is divine truth, represented by a Queen Goddess or Holy Spirit. She is also life and the femi­ nine side of Zarathustra himself, he who is trapped in the dualisms of gender. She is that side of him who is nauseated by the thought of the return of the small human and cracks this lie open with her moonlit arrows. She is the almighty bringer of life and harbinger of death, which she loves equally.

"Woman is not yet capable of friendship: women are still cats and birds. Or at best, cows" (Z:l "On the Friend"). She is the cat who deceives by hiding the truth behind appearance, the bird who sits on my golden eggs, the cow who nourishes me with the milk of wisdom, but she is not my friend. As long as we need crutches, personifying this truth as a goddess or biblical character, it is distant from us as Harmony was from Cadmus. For Nietzsche, the friend (the feminine principle in each of us) should challenge us, but who is challenged anymore by the worn-out cliches of our culture?

"Woman is not yet capable of friendship. But tell me, you men, who among you is capable of friendship?" (Z:l "On the Friend") For Nietzsche, "joy" is that which we share in friendship. Our friend is an "overflowing" spirit who gives out of excess and challenges out of love (HH 1 89) . The truth no longer challenges us (not yet, at least), but do we challenge each other? Who is willing to play the father, robbing us of our infantile cathexes and making us ready to take the reins for the future? Zarathustra hopes to become that person: "That I may one day be ready and ripe in the great noon: as ready and ripe as glowing bronze, clouds pregnant with lightning, and swell­ ing milk udders-ready for myself and my most hidden will: a bow lusting for its arrow, an arrow lusting for its star-a star ready and ripe in its noon, glowing, pierced, enraptured by annihilating sun arrows-a sun itself and an inexorable solar will, ready to annihilate in victory!" (Z:3 "On Old and New Tablets").

Here we have images of insemination, pregnancy, and lactation. Each birth is entwined with death-with the birth of sun, we have the death of the star, yet life continues on; soon the moon will annihilate the sun as surely as Artemis's arrows hit their mark, and always, the cows. Zarathustra reaches for the height and he seeks the excess of the overflowing cup, the Cornuco­ pia, Hom of Plenty: a cow's horn pouring forth all the fruits of the earth. Hence, when Zarathustra leaves the town of The Motley Cow, he preaches:

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. Thus I beg and beseech you. Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. (Z:l "On the Gift-Giving Virtue")

What is Zarathustra asking except that we tum away from the eternal return of the small human and its symbols of a frozen past and reaffirm life in all its ambiguity? (Zarathustra himself does this after overcoming his nausea and dancing and conversing with life-personified as a woman. ) He is asking that we tum from the now-impotent myth of an eternal God and the Enlighten­ ment myth that we can live without myth. We need new myths, for without the mythic structure to guide us, our lives are lonely and we are fractured. Inventing new myths will not be easy. Once the hero has slain the beast and made the sacred marriage, he must still return to the world, "where men who are fractions imagine themselves to be complete." He has yet to confront society with his "ego-shattering, life-redeeming elixir," and in turn face its questions, resentment and indifference.16 This hero will be lonely, yet he or she is the bearer of the future:

Wake and listen, you that are lonely! From the future come winds with secret wing­ beats; and good tidings are proclaimed to delicate ears. You that are lonely today, you that are withdrawing, you shall one day be the people: out of you, who have chosen yourselves, there shall grow a chosen people-and out of them, the over­ man. Verily, the earth shall yet become a site of recovery. And even now a new fragrance surrounds it, bringing salvation-and a new hope." (Z:l "On the Gift­ Giving Virtue" 2)" [Acampora]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*


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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:33 pm

Ass

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"The German word Esel, which can be translated "ass" or "jackass," shares with those words the connotations of foolishness, stubbornness, and stupid­ ity. Given Nietzsche's low opinion of many of his fellow human beings, per­ haps it is not surprising that the term Esel recurs in his writing. And certainly the connotation of foolishness and stupidity is evoked by some of Nietzsche's ass-laden comments. For example, when he considers the possibility of a teacher of his era encouraging students to be natural, he begins his comment with "even such a virtuous and guileless ass" (BGE 264). Despite the men­ tion of virtue, this is no compliment. In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche makes another negative reference to the ass.

All of us know, some even know from experience, which animal has long ears. Well then, I dare assert that I have the smallest ears. This is of no small interest to women-it seems to me that they may feel I understand them better.-! am the anti-ass par excellence and thus a world-historical monster-I am, in Greek, and not only in Greek, the Antichrist. (EH "Books" 2)

In the context of a megalomaniacal passage, Nietzsche's calling himself an anti-ass appears to disparage the ass. In Zarathustra, too, we find uses of the word Esel in which it appears to have the connotation of "stupid fool." For example, consider Zarathustra's comment when he first sees the Kings, men­ tioned earlier, and the passage that immediately follows.

"Strange! Strange! How does this fit together? Two kings l see-and only one ass!"

The two kings stopped, smiled, looked in the direction from which the voice had come, and then looked at each other. "Something of the sort may have occurred to one of us too," said the king at the right; "but one does not say it." (Z:4 "Conversation of the Kings")

The comment of the King at the right underscores N ietzsche's pun here. The ass is the traditional "mount of kings,"5 but the term is also applied to a foolish person, which presumably the King at the right takes his fellow to be.

However, some of Nietzsche's remarks on asses are not obviously negative. For example, in a letter to his sister in July 1 883, Nietzsche describes himself and any man with a real goal as putting "a veritable asshide around his essence, so that one can beat him nearly to death." This person "prevails and goes his old way as the old ass, with his old Ya-Yuh." One of his aphorisms in Twilight of the Idols also presents the ass rather sympathetically. "Can an ass be tragic?-To be crushed by a burden one can neither bear nor throw off? . . . The case of the philosopher" (TI "Maxims and Arrows" 3). The equation of asses and stupid people is inadequate for interpreting such pas­ sages.

Salaquarda was perhaps the first to notice that the ass, particularly the ass in Zarathustra, has a more complex role than the received view acknowledged. Gustav Naumann and others had earlier taken the ass to be a symbol of the mob, an interpretation that relies heavily on the association of the ass with stupidity and baseness. Salaquarda convincingly argues that this interpretation is inadequate.

Salaquarda notes that the references to the ass in the first three parts of Thus Spoke Zarathustra do tend to associate the ass with the undistinguished crowd. He cites, for example, the following passage from "On Reading and Writing."

You say to me, "Life is hard to bear." But why would you have your pride in the morning and your resignation in the evening? Life, is hard to bear; but do not act so tenderly! We are all of us fair beasts of burden, male and female asses. What do we have in common with the rosebud, which trembles because a drop of dew lies on it?" (Z:1)

Again, in "On the Famous Wise Men," Nietzsche addresses the famous ones, "As the people's advocates you have always been stiff-necked and clever like asses" (Z:2 "On the Famous Wise Men"). Here the asses are not "the people" themselves, but clever individuals who attract the people's atten­ tion.8 Nevertheless, they are associated with the people through being described as their advocates. In "On Apostates" common people of little intelligence are again associated with asses. Zarathustra overhears night watch­ men speculate that God doesn't prove anything because he considers faith so important. He comments, "Verily, this will yet be my death, that I shall suffocate with laughter when I see asses drunk and hear night watchmen thus doubting God. Is not the time long past for all such doubts too?" (Z:3 "On Apostates"). Similarly in "On the Spirit ofGravity," Zarathustra announces, "Verily, I also do not like those who consider everything good and this world the best. Such men I call the omni-satisfied. . . . [T]o chew and digest every­ thing-that is truly the swine's manner. Always to bray Yea-Yuh-that only the ass has learned and whoever is of his spirit" (Z:3 "On the Spirit of Gravity").

Despite such passages in which asses are associated with common fools, Salaquarda argues persuasively that Nietzsche often uses the term Esel in ref­ erence to more distinguished individuals and their mindlessly held convic­ tions, particularly moral prejudices. Philosophers with their prejudices are paradigmatic asses, for Nietzsche, as are those who have faith in "modern ideas." Although Nietzsche does show scorn for the mob of humanity, he heaps particular contempt on learned asses and the asses of politics.

A particularly fascinating passage to which Salaquarda alludes occurs in Beyond Good and Evil: "There is a point in every philosophy when the philos­ opher's 'conviction' appears on the stage-or to use the language of an ancient Mystery: Adventavit asinus , Pulcher et fortissimus [Kaufmann's transla­ tion: The ass arrived, beautiful and most brave]" (BGE 8 ) . The words of the "ancient Mystery" are lines from "The Song of the Ass," sometimes attrib­ uted to Pierre de Corbeil, Archbishop of Sens, who died in 1222. This song played a role in a celebration of medieval times called Feast of Fools, the Ass Festival, or Feast of Asses (asinaria festa), a connection that Salaquarda and others have recognized.11 Salaquarda credits Naumann with the recognition that Nietzsche had referred to the Ass Festival procession in a letter to Carl von Gersdorff,  as well as in the Beyond Good and Evil passage , but he regis­ ters surprise that Naumann had not drawn consequences from these refer­ ences for an interpretation of Nietzsche's ass metaphor. Salaquarda himself sees Nietzsche's reference to the procession as providing support for his view that Nietzsche employs the image of the ass to criticize those who join the parade of true believers, burdened by their convictions." [Acampora]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:34 pm

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"From the late eleventh to the sixteenth centuries, the Ass Festival was cele­ brated annually in various European cathedrals and churches at some point during the weeks after Christmas. It was most popular in France, although reports place it at various locations in Germany, Spain, England, Bohemia, and Poland. The festival typically involved the sub-deacons, the lowest rank of the clergy, clownishly pretending to be their clerical superiors (often bishops) and engaging in carnivalesque activities such as "the using of masks, talking gibberish, making animal noises instead of articulated speech, men dressing in female clothes, etc."15 Often the excesses went considerably fur­ ther, to include clergy members playing dice and eating blood pudding at the altar, braying at Mass, singing wanton songs both inside and outside the church, dancing lewdly, burning old shoes and censing the altar with them, "baptizing" members of the clergy with buckets ofwater, and driving around town in carts while singing and making obscene gestures.

During the course of this festival, "The Song of the Ass," or "The Prose of the Ass," was commonly sung one or more times. This hymn, the one cited in Beyond Good and Evil, is preserved in various forms. The hymn praises the ass, making frequent reference to its strength; for the ass, it pro­ claims, "no burden was too heavy." The ass bites the straw he eats "with strongest teeth" and thus becomes sated. Of particular interest for our pur­ poses is the line "None can dance as thou."16 In the last stanza, the ass is urged to say "Amen."

Nietzsche's song in "The Awakening" follows its model closely. When Zarathustra returns to his cave, he discovers the higher men "all kneeling like children and devout old women and adoring the ass. And just then the ugliest man began to gurgle and snort as if something inexpressible wanted to get out of him; but when he really found words, behold, it was a pious strange litany to glorify the adored and censed ass." The litany begins

Amen! And praise and honor and wisdom and thanks and glory and strength be to our god, from everlasting to everlasting!

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh.

He carries our burden, he took upon himself the form of a servant, he is patient of heart and never says No; and whoever loves his God, chastises him.

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh.

He does not speak, except he always says Yea to the world he created: thus he praises his world. It is his cleverness that does not speak: thus he is rarely found to be wrong.

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. (Z:4 "The Awakening")

The Ugliest Man's litany follows the medieval model by including braying, censing, and the song praising the ass's strength and its satisfaction in food ( it does not "despise food" [2:4 "The Awakening"] ) . Later in the text, reports of the ass dancing are mentioned. The ass's hee-haw, rendered "I-A" in Nietzsche's German, sounds like "ja," the affirmative interjection. In effect, Nietzsche's ass says "Amen," as the medieval "Song of the Ass" urges, for "Amen" is the affirmative expletive "so be it."

The Ass Festival got its name not only from the hymn and the foolish behavior associated with it but also from the role played by an ass of the more literal sort. The feast involved a procession to the church that hosted it, often a feast including an ass. Chambers describes the "amazing account of the Beauvais ceremony" of the twelfth century described in the glossary of Ducange as revised by later editors.

A pretty girl, with a child in her arms, was set upon an ass, to represent the Flight into Egypt. There was a procession from the cathedral to the church of St. Ste­ phen. The ass and its riders were stationed on the gospel side of the altar. A solemn mass was sung, in which the Introit, Kyrie, Gloria and Credo ended with a bray. To crown all, the rubrics direct that the celebrant, instead of saying lte , missa est, shall bray three times [ter hinhannabit] and that the people shall respond in similar fash­ ion. At this ceremony also the "Prose of the Ass" was used, and the version pre­ served in the Glossary is longer and more ludicrous than that of either the Sens or the Beauvais Officium.

Although the details of the celebrations varied, the ass was a common partic­ ipant. Chambers summarizes the account of the feast's celebration at Cha­lons-sur-Mame in 1570:

[T]he chapter provided a banquet on a theatre in front of the great porch. To this the 'bishop of Fools' was conducted in procession from the ma!trise des fow; , with bells and music upon a gaily trapped ass. He was then vested in cope, mitre, pecto­ ral cross, gloves, and crozier, and enjoyed a banquet with the canons who formed his "household. " Meanwhile some of the inferior clergy entered the cathedral, sang gibberish, grimaced and made contortions. After the banquet, Vespers were precip­ itately sung, followed by a motet. Then came a musical cavalcade round the cathe­ dral and through the streets. A game of la paume took place in the market; then dancing and further cavalcades. Finally a band gathered before the cathedral, howled and clanged kettles and saucepans, while the bells were rung and the clergy appeared in grotesque costumes.

The ass involved in such processions was not inevitably admitted into the church. However, Chambers cites a number of reports that place the ass inside, and he observes that the braying typical of these festivals already brought the ass into church by making its cry a part of the service itself. Again, Nietzsche's version of the Ass Festival, with the ass processing to Zar­ athustra's inner sanctum and braying in response to the ugliest man's litany, resembles its historical antecedents.

Not surprisingly, Church authorities were dubious of the Ass Festival. Complaints by the papal legate in France to the bishop of Paris resulted in an order for the reform of the ceremony as practiced at the Paris Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Chambers and Gilhus both cite at length a letter addressed in 1445 from the Theological Faculty of Paris to the French bishops and chapters. It itemizes the offenses of participants in the Ass Festival and reproves participants for their abominable behavior, which, the letter claims, preserve the pagan traditions of Janus. These practices, it argues, are not harmless relaxation but the consequence of original sin.

Perhaps the most startling feature of these festivals in retrospect is the significant participation of the clergy themselves. Those clergy who defended the feast had argued prior to the Theological Faculty letter that "foolishness, which is our second nature and seems .to be inherent in man, might freely spend itself at least once a year. Wine barrels burst if from time to time we do not open them and let in some air." In many parts of France, the history of the feast involves the authorities making intermittent efforts to reform or eliminate the festival, surrounded by periods in which the feast was cele­ brated with enthusiasm and spontaneity.

Several features of the historical Ass Festival might have recommended themselves to Nietzsche. First, the "burlesque of the sacred and tedious cere­ monies" that Chambers describes might well have struck a chord with Nietz­ sche who, as the son and grandson of Lutheran ministers, was also quite painfully familiar with such services. He seems to enjoy lampooning these ceremonies in the Ugliest Man's litany. At the same time, he is able to mock the Catholic ecclesia, large portions of which engaged in a festival on the order of what Nietzsche presents in "The Awakening."

Second, Nietzsche would likely have been pleased by the Ass Festival's impact of undercutting the authority of the Church hierarchy. The medieval festival deliberately reversed the status of the clergy, raising the sub-deacons above the bishops. As some of the Church hierarchy seemed to recognize, this pretended undermining of clerical authority actually undermined it. In many of his works, Nietzsche analyzes Christian doctrine as formulated to establish and reinforce the power of priests. The Ass Festival is a celebration that reverses clerical power, and Nietzsche, who rejected the Christian Church in both Catholic and Protestant forms, would have applauded this. The fact that the participating clergy themselves were instrumental in destroying clerical power makes the Ass Festival also a symbol of what Nietz­ sche sees as pervasive self-destructive tendencies in Christianity, which ulti­ mately led to the death of God. The fact that the litany in "The Awakening" is sung by the Ugliest Man, the higher man who allegedly killed God, further supports this connection.

Third, the reversals involved in the Ass Festival, which Gilhus and T.K. Seung both emphasize, revalue values along lines that Nietzsche endorses. Of particular interest for Nietzsche, the Ass Festival rejects the orthodox Christian view that one must suppress the body and the senses. Seung also stresses that• the Ass Festival rejected the aspiration of trying to become like God in favor of the goal of being healthy animals.

Fourth, the festival character of the historical feast is something that N ietzsche would appreciate, which is indicated by his portrayal of Zarathus­ tra praising festival. Zarathustra recovers from his shock and fury at the higher men and claims that convalescents need festivals. This suggests that Nietzsche may have seen the participants in the historical Ass Festival as being convalescents, recovering from Christianity's denigration of the body and earthly joy. Zarathustra suggests that the Ass Festival is a creative expres­ sion of the higher men's spiritual state.

Most important, the higher men's Ass Festival is comical. In the first section of The Gay Science, Nietzsche argues that the somber teachers of moral­ ity, who insist that some things are too sacred to be laughed at, are always eventually overcome by waves of laughter. The history of religion involves a pendulum swing between the poles of tragic seriousness and comic light­ heartedness, and Nietzsche suggests that the latter perspective is the more profound (see GS 1 ) . "The Ass Festival" describes Zarathustra's own spiritual transformation from angry seriousness to light-hearted amusement at the higher men's antics. This shift reflects the religious trajectory that Nietzsche sees as desirable for contemporary Western humanity, and.Zarathustra's experience serves as a demonstration of how it can be achieved. This last point suggests that the ass is an important symbol in Zarathus­tra's spiritual transformation, as well as in the convalescent stage of the higher men." [Acampora]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:35 pm

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""The Awakening." This title alerts us to Nietzsche's satire of one of the religious movements of his era, one with which he had personal acquaintance. "The Awakening" (Die Erweckung) was a term for the Lutheran revivalist movement that attracted both of Nietzsche's parents, as well as Friedrich Wilhelm, the king for whom Nietzsche was named. Carol Diethe describes this movement, which she also calls "neo-Pietism," as involving its adherents in ostentatious confes­ sions of their sins and public conversion. Those in the movement referred to themselves almost obsessively as "children," and they were conservative and chauvinistically nationalistic. Their religious and political tendencies are among those that Nietzsche attacks most stridently. Nietzsche's hostility toward the faith of his childhood is reflected in his titling the section in which the higher men grovel "The Awakening." The reference to the neo­ Pietist movement is also evident in the following section, "The Ass Festival," where Zarathustra himself uses the image of the "child" in his remarks to the highest men.

"How all your hearts wriggled with pleasure and malice that at last you had become again as little children, that is, pious; that at last you did again what chil­ dren do, namely, prayed, folded your hands, and said, "Dear God!" But now leave this nursery, my own cave, where all childishness is at home today! . . . .

"To be sure: except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into that kingdom of heaven. ( And Zarathustra pointed upward with his hands.) But we have no wish whatever to enter into the kingdom of heaven: we have become men-so we want the [kingdom of the] earth . " (Z:4 "The Ass Festival" )

"The Ass Festival," however, does not begin with Zarathustra speaking so calmly. It opens with Zarathustra braying like one of the medieval sub-dea­ cons. "At this point of the litany Zarathustra could no longer control himself and himself shouted Yea-Yuh, even louder than the ass, and he jumped right into the middle of his guests, who had gone mad" (Z:4 "The Ass Festival"). Zarathustra proceeds to chide the higher men, asking how they could have sunk to the point of worshipping an ass. He confronts many of them individ­ ually, asking the Retired Pope, for example, "How do you reconcile this with yourself that you adore an ass in this way as a god?" The Retired Pope answers in a way that might have suited the defenders of the medieval Ass Festival: "Better to adore God in this form than in no form at all," the Retired Pope says in his reply. "He who said, 'God is a spirit,' took the biggest step and leap to disbelief that anybody has yet taken on earth."

Several of the higher men make remarks that direct the accusations back at Zarathustra himself. For example, the shadow says in response to Zarathus­ tra's queries of him, "in the case of gods death is always a mere prejudice." If Zarathustra is demanding that the higher men adhere to his doctrine that God has died, he himself is asserting a dogmatic prejudice. The higher man identified as "the Conscientious in Spirit" raises the possibility that Zara­ thustra himself could be an ass. "And whoever has too much spirit might well grow foolishly fond of stupidity and folly itself. Think about yourself, 0 Zarathustra! You yourself-verily, overabundance and wisdom could easily turn you too into an ass. ls not the perfect sage fond of walking on the most crooked ways? The evidence shows this, 0 Zarathustra-and you are the evi­ dence." The Ugliest Man claims that he, as the murderer of God, is in a better position than Zarathustra to know how dead God is or is not. He also reminds Zarathustra of his own doctrine that laughter kills more decisively than outrage and seriousness.

[The] ugliest man . . . still lay on the ground, . . . raising his arm toward the ass (for he was offering him wine to drink). . . .

"O Zarathustra," replied the ugliest man, "you are a rogue! Whether that one still lives or lives again or is thoroughly dead-which of the two of us knows that best? I ask you. But one thing I do know; it was from you yourself that I learned it once, 0 Zarathustra: whoever would kill most thoroughly, laughs .

"'Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter'-thus you once spoke." (2:4 "The Ass Festival")

Salaquarda acknowledges that Nietzsche sometimes presents himself as an ass, but he does not appear to take seriously the suggestion, made in different ways by the Conscientious of Spirit and the Ugliest Man, that Zarathustra might be an ass. In fact, Salaquarda describes Zarathustra and the ass as opposites, with the higher man standing at the midpoint between the two. However, it seems that Zarathustra recognizes his own foolishness by the end of "The Ass Festival." The section concludes with Zarathustra reconsidering the Ass Festival and its significance. He tells the higher men,

Verily, you have all blossomed; it seems to me such flowers as you are require new festivals, a little brave nonsense, some divine service and ass festival, some old gay fool of a Zarathustra, a roaring wind that blows your souls bright.

Do not forget this night and this ass festival, you higher men. This you invented when you were with me and I take that for a good sign: such things are invented only by convalescents.

And when you celebrate it again, this ass festival, do it for your own sakes, and also do it for my sake. And in remembrance of me . (2:4 "The Ass Festival")

T. K. Seung takes this parody ofJesus' words at the Last Supper to demon­ strate that Zarathustra is seriously consecrating the Ass Festival and institut­ ing a Nature-God religion. He points out that parody originally meant only "imitation," that "parody masses" were a secular version of the Mass com­ posed by many serious composers. Satire and derision were not a part of such parody, and Seung argues that Nietzsche's parody is actually "solemn and reverent." I think Nietzsche is satirizing Christian practices in "The Ass Festival," but I agree with Seung that Zarathustra's praise of the higher men's awakening has serious significance, too. Nietzsche elsewhere praises the externalization of spiritual states through festivals, and the higher men's renewal of the state of mind that provoked the historical Ass Festival repre­sents a stage of spiritual evolution that Nietzsche can positively value.

Still, Nietzsche's allusion to the consecration has a comic element even beyond satire directed at the Christian Church. Zarathustra encourages the higher men to celebrate the ass festival again and says that they should also remember him when they do so. Nietzsche leaves ambiguous what it is about Zarathustra that the higher men should remember. Should they remember Zarathustra's maxim that one who kills thoroughly laughs? Should they remember that even Zarathustra becomes so wedded to his own ideas that he can behave like an ass as a consequence? I think the latter is an idea that Zarathustra's reader, at least, should remember. The book as a whole narrates Zarathustra's spiritual journey, and Zarathustra's failures and follies are important elements of this story.

The end of Zarathustra's evening with the higher men, recounted in "The Drunken Song," draws attention to the ass once again. Taking the tone of a report in the New Testament or a legendary account, it concludes by reject­ ing the posture of dogmatic authority, the posture that Zarathustra himself abandons in the course of "The Ass Festival."

But the old soothsayer was dancing with joy; and even if, as some chroniclers think, he was full of sweet wine, he was certainly still fuller of the sweetness of life and he had renounced all weariness. There are even some who relate that the ass danced too, and that it had not been for nothing that the ugliest man had given him wine to drink before. Now it may have been so or otherwise; and if the ass really did not dance that night, yet greater and stranger wonders occurred than the dancing of an ass would have been. In short, as the proverb of Zarathustra says: "What does it matter?" (Z:4 "The Drunken Song")" [Acampora]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:38 pm

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"I have argued elsewhere that Part 4 of Thus Spoke Zarathustra systematically alludes to Apuleius's The Golden Ass, a work of the second century BCE. Apuleius based his work on an old Greek story that survived incompletely, the basis for Lucian's "The Story of the Ass," as well. The basic plot of both of these works is quite similar until the end of the story. Some of the details of Apuleius's version in particular, however, recommend considering it to be Nietzsche's model. The story is told by a narrator, Lucius, who takes a trip to Thessaly and stays at the home of a wealthy friend. The friend's wife is reputed to be a powerful witch, and Lucius is curious. With multiple motives, he becomes the lover of the wife's maid, and he describes some of their encounters in considerable detail. However, Lucius does not lose sight of his desire to see her mistress performing a spell. He persuades the maid to let him observe her secretly, and he watches while the witch rubs an ointment on herself and turns into a bird. Fascinated, Lucius tells the maid to rub the same ointment on him so that he can see the world from a bird's viewpoint.

The maid complies, but she grabs the wrong jar. Lucius is not transformed into a bird but into an ass instead. Fortunately, the maid knows the antidote to this spell. If Lucius eats roses, she tells him, he will become a man again. Alas, this is not so easily accomplished. Bandits break into the house, steal­ ing the ass. Lucius suffers through a series of ordeals with miscellaneous own­ ers, most of whom mistreat him. Throughout his adventures, Lucius retains the mind of a man, but as an ass he is allowed glimpses of human beings that he would never have been allowed while in human form. He thereby gains a detached but detailed perspective on human affairs, although not precisely the perspective he had sought.

Ultimately, Lucius is restored to manhood. In Apuleius's story, he has been sold to two brothers who cater for their master. Lucius is therefore often in proximity to delicious food. Being a gourmand if not a glutton, he suc­ cumbs to temptation one day when delicacies are in his vicinity, only to be discovered by the brothers. Unlike his previous owners, the brothers do not beat him. Instead, they are amused at the idea of an ass with a refined palate. They give him wine to go with his delectable meal, and they bring their master to see the sight of him dining. The master finds this so hilarious that he decides to have Lucius trained as a performing animal. Lucius has no dif­ ficulty with the required stunts until the day when he is supposed to copulate with a woman who has been sentenced to death as part of a major public performance. He had learned the technique from a wanton but wealthy woman, who had been paying for his favors, but he does not want to go public with such an act. Fortunately, he is able to eat some roses before the perform­ ance occurs and he becomes a man again. In Lucian's end to the tale, the decadent woman who loved him as an ass rejecting him as a man. He never­ theless goes home and offers sacrifices to the gods. Apuleius, by contrast, has a more mystical ending. The night before the objectionable performance, Lucius receives a prophecy from Isis that rose wreaths will be carried in a procession to her the following day. The prophecy is fulfilled, and Lucius eats from one of these wreaths, becoming a man again. Subsequently, he becomes a devotee of both Isis and Osiris. Apuleius's tale also departs from Lucian's in interpolating a variety of stories that the ass overhears or sees, drawing atten­ tion to the insights that Lucius gains by virtue of his experiences as an ass.

Many comparisons can be made between the details of Apuleius's telling of the ass story and the narrative of Zarathustra, Part 4. The theme of pity causing disaster is common to both narratives. The Golden Ass begins with the story of a merchant named Aristomenes taking pity on a character named Socrates, who has become old and pitiable. The consequence of this pity is that Socrates' bad luck rubs off on the merchant. Zarathustra, simi­ larly, has pity for the higher men, a "sin" that motivates the entirety of Part 4, which is resolved only when he overcomes pity.

Zarathustra's comment about "what gives asses wings" corresponds to the thought of Lucius the ass, while fleeing a pack of wolves, that he is like Pega­sus. "It occurred to me that the famous Pegasus must have had a similar expe­ rience: the reason they called him 'the winged horse' was doubtless that he was so terrified of being bitten that he buck-jumped right up to the sky."  At the festival in which Lucius eats the roses, he also sees an ass that has "wings glued to its shoulders and a doddering old man seated on its rump; you would have laughed like anything at that pair, supposed to be Pegasus and Bellerophon."

The ass song sung by the higher men makes reference to the fact that the ass does not "despise food," certainly a characteristic of Apuleius's ass. The Ugliest Man, like the brothers who see Lucius eating savories, gives the ass wine to drink. The reference to the ass dancing also has its precedent in The Golden Ass. Lucius reports, "The tale of my wonderful talents spread in all directions, so that my master became famous on my account. People said: 'Think of it! He has an ass whom he treats like a friend and invites to dinner with him. Believe it or not, that ass can wrestle, and actually dance, and understands what people say to him, and uses a language of signs ! ' "37 Apulei­ us's ass sometimes tries to intervene in human affairs but finds he can only bray. Zarathustra's ass also seems to insert itself into human discussion at times, as when it "said clearly and with evil intent, Yea-Yuh," or when its voice mingles with those of the higher men.

Most obviously, the roses that bring an end to Lucius's misadventures par­ allel the rose wreaths and roses that Zarathustra mentions in two of his refer­ ences to asses. The previously cited passage from "On Reading and Writing" contrasts the condition of asses to the delicacy of the "rosebud, which trem­ bles because a drop of dew lies on it." More obviously parallel to Lucius's rose garlands are the rose wreaths that Zarathustra mentions at the end of "The Higher Man" as he describes laughter as the cure for what ails the higher men.

You higher men, the worst about you is that all of you have not learned to dance as one must dance-dancing away over yourselves! What does it matter that you are failures? How much is still possible! So learn to laugh away over yourselves! Lift up your hearts, you good dancers, high, higher! And do not forget good laughter. This crown of him who laughs, this rose-wreath crown: to you, my brothers, I throw this crown. Laughter I have pronounced holy; you higher men, learn to laugh! (2:4)

The extensive parallels between Nietzsche's text and The Golden Ass lead me to conclude that Nietzsche was deliberately alluding to the latter. Even the end of Zarathustra, in which Zarathustra enters an apparently mystical state and then decides that the time for his "final sin" is past, resembles the mystical finale of Apuleius's account, in which Lucius leaves his ass condition behind and becomes an initiate into the Mysteries of Isis and Osiris. This final parallel offers a hint, I think, about what Nietzsche means by the allu­ sions to The Golden Ass. Like Apuleius's ass, Zarathustra has gained insight through his various experiences, even those in which he has behaved fool­ ishly. The conclusion of both narratives shows the protagonist taking insight with him but moving beyond his days as an ass. The reader may question whether Zarathustra has overcome asinine behavior entirely by the end of the book. Zarathustra returns to his work by descending from his mountain cave, and the rest is unreported. However, what he has resolved at the end of his narrative is that he will no longer consider his folly "sin." "Foolishness, not sin!" is Nietzsche's own formulation for the Greek view of human error, which he praises in contradistinction to the Christian interpretation of much human error as sinful. One's follies do not render one guilty; they only make one laughable. By the end of Part 4, this is what Zarathustra has come to understand.

Conclusion. The ass serves Nietzsche as a symbol of dogmatism and stupidity and also as a positive symbol of the earth, nature, and humani­ ty's animal character. But it is important that the ass also represents laugh­ able folly, both as foolish behavior and as an essential stage in spiritual maturation. In this role, the ass is not merely an image for what Nietzsche rejects. The ass also serves as a symbol of transformation. As asses, Lucius and Zarathustra remain laughable until their metamorphosis is complete. Nevertheless, the asinine stage itself has value, both for the insights gained through it and for the comedy it presents to observers.

The moment of transition, Zarathustra suggests, is the point at which one learns to laugh at oneself. Laughing at oneself, one can recognize the comic aspects of being an ass, even though the detachment from oneself this requires reveals that one is already moving beyond the ass stage. Yet it is through being an ass that one learns to laugh, according to Nietzsche, and laughter redeems our "sin." The only redemption from sin is to move beyond the concept of "sin" itself, restoring to our foolishness the innocence of gen­ uine folly. Innocent foolishness is the condition of the ass. Nietzsche implies that if, as alleged, the early Christians did worship their god through the form of an ass, they would only have been half wrong. The ass, as the symbol of a crucial stage in spiritual development, is ultimately our redeemer." [Acampora]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:59 pm

Beast

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Quote :
"The word "beast" appears in Nietzsche in two different contexts; in one, it refers to the successful integration of the "beast(s)" into Greek culture, and in the other, it refers to the onset of illness in the beast as a result of subjecting it to morality and the attempts to domesticate the beast in the post-Greek era. Neither succeeds in achieving a synthesis of "beast" and cul­ ture. Both of these situations can be illuminated by a brief selection of refer­ences:

I. The Greeks succeeded on two fronts: ( 1 ) "reconciling two opponents": the "wildest Beasts of Nature" and the Apollonian; and (2) incorpo­rating the "beast" into "noble" culture:
( 1 ) BT 2: "The most savage beasts of nature were set free here [at the Dionysian feasts."] [. . .] But the Greeks were completely safe and protected from the feverish excitements of these festivals [. . .] by the figure of Apollo. [. . .] This resistance became more doubtful, even impossible, when similar impulses finally emerged from the deepest roots of Hellenistic culture. Now, all the Delphic god could do was to disarm the powerful opponent of his destructive weapon with a timely reconciliation."

(2) BGE 257 "The noble caste was from the beginning always the barbarian caste: their superiority lay, not in their physical strength, but primarily in their psychical-they were more complete human beings (which, on every level, also means as much as 'more com­ plete beasts')."

(3) GM 1:11: "One cannot fail to see at the bottom of all of these noble races the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast prowling about avidly in search of spoil and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time, the animal has to get out again and go back to the wilderness: the Roman, Arabian, Germanic, Japanese nobility, the Homeric heroes the Scandinavian Vikings-they all shared this need. It is the noble races that have left behind them the concept 'barbarian' wherever they have gone."

II. Through "morality" and "taming" ("bad conscience") the "beast" is not "improved," but rather made "sick":

(4) HH 40: "The beast in us wants to be lied to; morality is a white lie, to keep it from tearing us apart. Without the errors inherent in the postulates of morality, man would have remained an ani­ mal. But as it is he has taken himself to be something higher. [. . .] He therefore has a hatred of those stages of man that remain closer to the animal state."

(5) GM 11:22: "Oh this insane, pathetic beast-man! What ideas he has, what unnaturalness, what paroxysms of nonsense, what besti­ ality of thought erupts as soon as he is prevented just a little from being a beast in deed!"

(6) TI "The 'lmprovers' of Mankind" 2: "To call the taming of an animal its 'improvement' sounds almost like a joke to our ears. Whoever knows what goes on in menageries doubts that the beasts are 'improved' there. They are weakened, they are made less harmful, and through the depressive effect of fear, through pain, through wounds, and through hunger they become sickly beasts. It is no different with the tamed man whom the priest has 'improved."' (This passage is followed by an example of unsuccess­ ful "improvement": the "noble Germanic tribes" as allegedly exemplifying an "improvement" of the blonde beast. )


Quote :
"Ansell-Pearson formulates it as follows: "The kind of 'return to nature' Nietzsche favors is a Dionysian one in which the fundamentally amoral character of existence is recognized and affirmed and which depends on adopting an attitude towards life that is beyond good and evil." It is a matter of "the triumph of artistic nobility and strength over weakness and resentment."

It is also a matter of preserving Nature in another sense. For Nietzsche, the human is the "as yet undetermined animal [das noch nicht festgestellte Thier]" (BGE 62). Van Tongeren interprets this notion as follows: "On the one hand the human being is an animal: natural, corporeal, driven by instincts, etc. But, on the other hand, the naturalness of this being is not complete and encompassing. Human beings are not completely determined by their instincts once and for all into one particular pattern. They do not have a fixed and definite identity but maintain many possibilities." There­ fore, human beings, as "as yet undetermined," have the task of continually redefining themselves, in order to become that which they should become. In this process of self-realization, there are higher .and less-elevated types of self-realization to be achieved. Those on the higher path to self-realization are types, "which most comply with the human being as being undeter­ mined, that is, those who are most open to many possibilities." It is there­ fore a matter of remaining open despite all inclinations to become fixed..."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:11 pm

"The beast in me

Is caged by frail and fragile bars.
Restless by day
And by night rants and rages at the stars. God help the beast in me."

-Johnny Cash


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:38 am

Borgia.

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Quote :
"Relying on a familiar image of the masterful, commanding human types whom he most admires, he compares the arrival ofthe aggressor type to the onset of an unforeseen natural disaster:

One does not reckon with such [that is, "masterly"] natures; they come like fate, without reason, consideration, or pretext; they appear as lightning appears, too ter­ rible, too sudden, too convincing, too "different" even to be hated. (GM Il:l7)

Nietzsche's most persuasive response to this line of questioning would most likely draw upon his controversial description of the beasts of prey as artists. It is their native capacity for artistry, he maintains, that enables them to engage in a kind of predation that is also civilizing and nurturing. As he explains,

Their work is an instinctive creation and imposition of forms; they are the most involuntary, unconscious artists there are-wherever they appear something new soon arises, a ruling structure that lives, in which parts and functions are delineated and co-ordinated. . . . They exemplify that terrible artists' egoism that has the look of bronze and knows itself justified to all eternity in its "work," like a mother in her child. (GM Il:l7)

As this passage confirms, the beasts of prey practice their artistry most con­ spicuously in the preferred medium of other human or hominid beings . In bring­ ing order and purpose to a formerly formless populace, the beasts of prey impart meaning and identity to their captives. They are, in short,· givers of new life. Nietzsche thus refers to them, approvingly, as "artists of violence and organizers who build states" (GM II:18).

Here, too, we must not be distracted by Nietzsche's offensive imagery. His larger point is that predation in any form contributes to the renewal of life and the reanimation of otherwise moribund natural systems. In the context of his anthropological narrative, this means that the beasts of prey also elevate and improve the populace upon which they vent their outbursts of primal vitality. Those captives who survive the form-giving wrath of the beasts of prey are ennobled by the assault, for they are then able to partake of "a ruling structure that lives, in which parts and functions are delineated and coordi­nated" (GM 11:17). [Acampora]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:39 am

Beasts of Prey.

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"The priestly class origi­nally may have been nothing more than a motley assortment of magicians, seers, shamans, prophets, and healers, from whom the beasts of prey sensed no credible threat to their reign. As we shall see, in fact, the priests became both dangerous and triumphant only as a by-product of their specific use at the hands of the beasts of prey. The ascetic strain of the priestly type emerged fairly late in the reign of the beasts of prey and only as an unforeseen conse­ quence of the organizing disciplines they imparted to their captives.

It seems likely that the beasts of prey would at some point have needed to communicate their organizing principles to the formless populace over which they lorded. If so, then they also may have needed to work closely with a select class or group of mediators, who in turn would have been entrusted to communicate their demands to the populace as a whole. The labor of media­ tion may have fallen naturally to the priests, whom Nietzsche describes as "neurasthenic" (GM I:6)-and so as naturally (if pathologically) sensitive and empathetic. These early priests, already adept at translating languages, arbitrating disputes, interpreting dreams, divining portents, unlocking prophecies, reading entrails, and generally decoding regnant symbolic sys­ tems, presumably would have been indispensable to the organizing activities of the beasts of prey.

As Nietzsche explains, however, the priestly type also possesses a plasticity of soul that naturally manifests itself in a double agency. In political terms, the priest thrives by colonizing the interstitial spaces of a society, mediating between competing classes, strata, and castes. He faces at once in both direc­ tions, standing to his flock as the ruling elite stands to him. His mastery of lines and media of communication enables him to reverse the customary downward flow of state power and to disrupt the acknowledged chain of com­ mand-even as he honors it. The priest gladly relays the wishes of the ruling elite, but only at great expense to its credibility and authority. With every communication of directives from above, the priest wages from below a silent psychological war. While receiving the commands that are to be dissemin­ ated to the populace, the priest also steals secrets, sows the seeds of jealousy and distrust, manipulates language, flatters and ingratiates, and generally subverts the unity and stability of the ruling elite. Nietzsche's beasts of prey may have possessed a sufficiently robust inner life to organize themselves and their prey, perhaps even to cultivate and nurture, but they were no match for the cunning of the ascetic priest.

Nietzsche thus links the disappearance of the beasts of prey to their ill­-fated dealings with the priestly class. As he explains, the priest must be the natural opponent and despiser of all rude, stormy, unbridled, hard, violent beast-of-prey health and might. The priest is the first form of the more delicate animal that despises more readily than it hates. He will not be spared war with the beasts of prey, a war of cunning (of the "spirit") rather than one of force, as goes without saying; to fight it he will under certain circumstances need to evolve a virtually new type of beast of prey [Raubthier-Typus] out of himself, or at least he will need to represent it-a new kind of animal ferocity in which the polar bear, the supple, cold, and patient tiger, and not least the fox seem to be joined in a unity at once enticing and terrifying. If need compels him, he will walk among the other beasts of prey with bearlike seriousness and feigned superiority, venerable, prudent, and cold, as the herald and mouthpiece of more mysterious powers, determined to sow this soil with misery, discord, and self-contradiction wherever he can and, only too certain of his art, to dominate the suffering at all times. (GM Ill:15, emphasis added)

In this remarkable passage, Nietzsche alleges that the organizing activities of the beasts of prey produced a monstrous mutation of the priestly type. An unintended consequence of their artistry, he speculates, was the empower­ment of some priests as "artists" of equal power and surpassing ingenuity. From this "artistic" mutation of the priestly type emerged the arch-villain of Nietzsche's narrative: the ascetic priest.

As the mysterious "law of life" enjoins, "all great things bring about their own destruction through an act of self-overcoming [Selbstaufhebung]" (GM lll:27). Such is the fate, presumably, of those "great things" known as beasts of prey. By using the priestly class to propagate their form-giving directives, the beasts of prey unwittingly instructed some of the priests in the strategic deployment of their double agency. Those priests who were not crushed by the artistry of the beasts of prey apparently learned to manipulate the suffer­ ing of others to shield themselves from the scrutiny of their captors and to secure the allegiances of their followers. Nietzsche's references to the art­ istry of the beasts of prey thus enable him to issue a balanced (if fantastic) reckoning of their enduring contributions. Just as he credits them with unconsciously introducing order, discipline, and beauty into the world, so he holds them responsible for unwittingly creating the conditions of the development of the "bad conscience" and the ascetic priest. That the ascetic priest was born of their beastly aggression also furnishes Nietzsche with a possible exit from the otherwise closed and suffocating system of Western morality.

It thus turns out that the form-giving artistry of the beasts of prey served as the model for the cunning machinations of the ascetic priest. What the beasts of prey achieved by means of their physical, outward, overt discharge of animal vitality, the priest achieves through psychological, inward, covert operations. Whereas the beasts of prey seized the external world as their can­ vas, onto which they spontaneously projected the vibrant hues of their core nobility, the ascetic priest claimed the unexplored inner world as his per­ sonal theatre, in which he stages self-serving compensatory spectacles.

As this comparison suggests, in fact, the priest not only learned the princi­ ples of animal husbandry from the beasts of prey but also dramatically improved upon their practical application. In particular, the priest discovered the most powerful organizational device known as yet to human history: the ascetic ideal, by means of which he turned the tables of domestication on the beasts of prey. Having convinced the beasts of prey to rely ever more heavily on his ministrations, the ascetic priest eventually exploited this dependency and polluted the "innocent" conscience of his captors. Poisoned with guilt, afflicted by the "bad conscience" that they, ironically, had introduced into the world, the wounded beasts of prey finally joined the captive populace they had formerly ruled." [ib.]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:23 am

Silenus - Dionysos

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"The notions of forgetfulness, memory, and promise provide access to Nietzsche's discourse on the animal, human, and overhuman forms of human animal life. The agonistic involvement of these forms with and against each other gives rise to the infinite formations and transformations (Bildungen) of human animal nature that are expressed in the becoming of human animal life. Whereas the animal stands at the beginning, the overhuman announces the future of human animal becoming. The future emerges from the self-overcoming of the human. But in Nietzsche, overcoming takes the form of a return to the beginning, to the animal. The forgetfulness of the animal is indispensable to the promise of an overhu­ man future. The future arises from an affirmation of the continuity between past, present, and future, between animal, human, and overhuman. Their intimate linkage has the peculiarity that the continuity it affirms brings about their discontinuity at the same time. Human animal life grows out of its animal past, not as something from which it derives but as what allows it to spring forward into the future. History is the narrative, the rope, that ties the animal, the human, and the overhuman together. It presupposes a conti­nuity between animal, human, and overhuman that goes counter to the traditional Western understanding of human animal becoming as an emancipation, a sublimation or an overcoming of animality. The animal resists in the human as much as in the overhuman; it withholds the secret of how to bring forth a relation to the past that disrupts and overturns the present in view of its future becoming." [ib.]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Beastiary Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:24 am

Circe.

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"civilization names the perspective of error that allows to make humans out of animals; culture names the perspective of truth that makes overhuman animals out of humans: "Truth as Circe.-Error has transformed animals into humans; is truth perhaps capable of changing the human back into an animal?" (HH 519).3 Whereas civilization claims the truth of the human animal to be revealed in its moral and rational nature, culture shows that this truth is part of the set of errors that make humans out of animals. From the perspective of civilization, the forgetfulness of the animals gives rise to error and illusion. Civilization understands itself as the process of improvement of the human animals through the imposition of its truth as a corrective to the forgetfulness of the human animals. From the perspective of culture, this imposition is itself based on error and illusion (GS 121). Nietzsche understands culture as cultivation (Bildung) and opposes it to civilization as taming (Ziihmung) and breeding (Ziichtung). Whereas the becoming of civilization reflects the domination of the human animal through the imposition of another, supposedly better nature upon it, the becoming of culture reflects the liberation of the human animal from the oppressiveness of civilization and the imposition of its worldview.

The becoming of culture and civilization, of error and truth, of the human and the overhuman animal, takes the form of a question (HH 519). The truth of a question can never be decided once and for all but lends itself to infinite questioning and requestioning. The truth at stake in the question of human animal becoming is not an epistemological or moral truth but takes the form of seduction, of Wahrheit als Circe. Truth seduces the human animal back to its origin where it discovers (sucht und versucht) itself as the one who engenders its life and nature out of dreams, illusions, and irrational passions. What is veiled and unveiled at the origin are dreams and illusions rather than a truth that is entailed in what is to come and evolve out of it. At the beginning there is the dissolution of beginning, the illusion of beginning. From the perspective of the animals, as Nietzsche constructs it, the very idea of there actually existing such a thing as the human being seems highly unlikely, nothing but an illusion: " 'Human beings do not exist, for there was no first human being': thus infer the animals" (KSA 10:12[1]).

When seduced back to the origin, the human animal discovers itself not as a function of what it is but of what it could become if only it keeps on dreaming and inventing illusions. Truth seduces the human animal to the challenging illusion that its truth is to continue inventing its truths, that its nature is to continue inventing its nature: to refine, cultivate, and perfect nature through the means of culture and self-culture. The task of cultural refinement of nature does not confound itself with that of striving for a fusional return to nature, but on the contrary must be understod as the infi­nite task to keep alive the struggle against the origin, against nature, against the past. It is a struggle for distinction from the origin, for becoming untruth­ful to it. Only as such can culture and self-culture bring forth the human animal's singularity and genius: its overhuman possibility." [ib.]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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