Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Women Woman-Haters

It disgusts me the way women talk about each other. The biggest woman-haters are not, and never have been, men – they’re women! How can women expect men to respect woman-kind, when they can’t even respect each other? What are these disgusting terms they use to denote other women who dare to live promiscuously: “cheap,” “slutty,” “skanky,” “a whore,” and combinations of them like, “slutty, skanky whore”? It’s loathsome, and it has always bothered me. It’s most pathetic, however, when it comes from women who are too unattractive and sexually unappealing to have men fawning all over them in the first place, and so lash out at women (who can get that kind of attention) with these despicable insults and the like, either because of the way they dress (usually sexy, and I have no idea what’s wrong with sexy), or because they have slept (or would sleep) with a lot of guys, or because they were always good little virgins, who went out the other night to a club or bar, met a guy and went home with him. So big fuckin’ deal!! What’s it to you? I don’t understand! How does that make her sexually immoral or whorish because she isn’t afraid to explore her sexuality and be sated? Maybe if these harridans weren’t so afraid of getting some more often themselves, and, hence, weren’t so uptight, they’d be a lot happier, instead of being miserably preoccupied with the sex lives of others! I’m so sick of this petty bullshit! It’s hard enough to get laid as it is, without women inhibiting other women with their slander.
I know where this vulgar stupidity comes from, though. It’s part of the unfortunately vast, excruciatingly inexorable resin left over by Christian value-judgement, in particularly 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, where the renowned misogynist, Paul of Tarsus, argues his theory (very poorly, I might add) that fornication is like putting the body of Christ with a prostitute. Meaning, if a woman fornicates, she’s a whore! Yeah, thanks for that, Paul - you fucking asshole!
The inability some people have to just stop caring so much what others do with their own bodies and lives, along with their inability to stop giving a damn what others think, is beyond me! Leave our sex lives alone! And the preposterously moronic guys who contribute to this shit by demeaning promiscuous women as being only worthy of being fucked and left, deserve to be hung up by their tiny testicles and beaten with a sledge hammer! You’re making it incredibly harder on yourselves and the rest of us to get laid, you idiots, because women end up being more inhibited and uncomfortable with their sexuality, whether they are religious or not. Can’t you see that you’re shooting yourselves in the foot? You’re promiscuous, so why can’t a woman be? Why shouldn’t she be? And then you complain about some chick not giving it up or playing hard to get. Well, what do you expect with this kind of chauvinistic culture, where a man can be the biggest man-whore in the world and get away with it, while a woman’s “reputation” (and I never did get that word in this context) is maligned and shamed for the exact same thing? Why the double standard? Why strengthen and bolster it with such idiocy? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s JUST SEX!!!
I think this world would be so much happier and at ease if these godforsaken stigmas surrounding sexuality weren’t so prevalent after all this fucking time. It bothers me the most, however, when it comes from women themselves. It’s so self-defeating, so masochistic, so contemptuous, so hateful – so mean . . . so fucking mean. Why hate on your sisters so brutally, ladies? Why lash out at them for what they do with the orifices of their own bodies? Maybe it’s because they can do it guilt-free and you can’t, and the jealousy of that consumes you, blackening out all reason, logic, rationality and the ability to be happy for someone else’s joy? Does the resentment you have towards these others consume you to the point where you feel the need to contribute to the supposedly patriarchal society that you hate so much? Well, then, it is only you, who can change that.
As for the rest of you women out there, you know I have always loved you and always will so very dearly. The majority of the world could, and should, learn from you, but I fear it may never do so, not in 2012 and not ever, because the mob are too busy telling others how to live, and virulently disdaining them for not conforming. In the meantime, ladies, please, don’t ever change; that is, don’t let defamation, slander and obnoxious sexual hang-ups change you. I like you just the way you are. Disregard these petty societal mores; don't even think twice about them. Be the fun-loving person you naturally are in your own skin, and don't allow yourself to be filled with unwarranted guilt and shame, because one thing a person can never be for wanting to experience life to the fullest, is "cheap." What’s cheap is condemning others in order to feel superior to them, and, hence, better about oneself. It’s pathetic, and it’s weak; and I’m so goddamn sick of it. So fuck what others think! They obviously don’t give a damn about thinking for themselves anyway. Too bad, so sad.
Have a Happy (and hopefully easy) New Year. :D

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

I started playing guitar again shortly after I got back from St. Catharines. God, I missed it. It had been nearly 6 years since I'd picked it up, but I'll never make that mistake again. It's me and the old six-string for good this time. Here's a little sample that I did a couple weeks ago. I pretty much just winged it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFt3sDY4uVc

I did something especially for Halloween yesterday. I tried to make my Yamaha sound spooky and ominous and then my Mexican Strat sound frantic and heart-racing. See for yourself and tell me if I succeeded. I made a few mistakes and rushed a couple of notes, but fuck it, it was mainly improvisation for a fun time of year, anyway. Plus, all that clothing was getting way too hot to do all that over again. Concentration makes me warm up a lot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-_N0ijas20

The costume you see me wearing there is called The Prophet of Darkness. I wore it to an insane Halloween/Birthday party in Norval on Friday. They reserved a school bus that went from Union Station to the City Centre in Brampton, picked up about 20 more people there and then went to the final destination, which was St. Paul's Cathedral - a tiny little church. Its basement/communal area was reserved for the party (bar and all). About 200 people showed up. My close friend, Chris (Darth Vader that night), kept thanking me profusely for making him come along. The chicks were half naked. I LOVE that - surprise, surprise. It's my favourite aspect of this time of year. I made out with three hot chicks, and danced quite a bit with two of them. GLORIOUS!! Unfortunately, they live in Brampton; too far for me. :(

I enjoy Halloween more and more every year. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed yours.

Ciao for now.

- The Ray

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy 30 to Me! :)

I bury my youth today. I've earned every right to bury it. And although I say goodbye to my youth as I place a red rose on its tomb, it is not dead, no, it lives on, for its fire stays with me. My 20s may have started off rocky, but they ended with a bang: graduating from college at 22, living in Dubai for 7 months when I was 23, losing my religion, and, hence, being emancipated, shortly after coming back, getting a four-year Honours BA in only three-years time, finishing on the Sessional Academic Achievement List, learning the art of seduction (something I'm ALWAYS working on improving, as I love women with all my heart and soul), meeting a lot of great people, making tons of new friends, losing some, going to Cuba on my own 2 days after my 29th Birthday, finishing my book back in November (now to try and get it published), meeting a hot Colombian nurse on Plenty of Fish, whom I've been nailing on and off since March, going to Hawaii for 10 days this passed May (as I was asked to speak at the Tenth East-West Philosophers' Conference, held every 5 years - a trip that, for the most part, was covered by my university, as I was representing it), working as a TA from September to April ( a fabulous experience), finishing my Master's Degree in Eastern and Continental Philosophy (with an A average) in the very lovely St. Catharines (where it's been a joy and privilege to live in, where the air is Niagara-fresh and the girls go absolutely wild come Friday and Saturday night), etc., etc.

Hawaii is, indeed, paradise, and is a place that I had been wanting to go to for as long as I can remember. The night life is amazing. The clubs stay open till 4. People are so incredibly friendly, too, because, well, what reason do they have to be grouchy? Honolulu will always live in my heart, along with its beautiful University of Hawaii at Manoa campus that I was allowed to stay at, the lovely, sweet Lovi (pronounced lo-vee), whom I danced and made out with all night at Ocean Night Club, and, of course, the breathtaking, stunning, sweet and petite B (that's what we'll call her) - a beautiful 29-year-old Korean woman from the States, who didn't look a day over 19 - in the second year of her PhD, also there for the conference, and whom I spent much time with in her dorm room. :)

Things have become a lot easier for me now when it comes to getting attractive women. They've become so much more of a pleasure than a frustration. I seem to be getting refined with age. Plus, the older women get, the more they can appreciate a handsome, intelligent, charming man, so I definitely look forward to my new age group (not that I'm going to leave the college girls behind, of course! No, no! Not for a LONG time to come). I recommend two books to all struggling guys out there: The Game and The Rules of the Game. I suggest reading the latter before the former, and shame on me for waiting over two years to read it after reading The Game, which changed my life for good, for better and forever. As for Hawaii, it was the perfect final trip of my 20s, and my presentation, which was a comparative essay on Merleau-Ponty and Nagarjuna, went very well. I got good questions, and answered them all thoroughly and enthusiastically. I still hate Merleau-Ponty, though, but not nearly as much as I hate Husserl. Nietzsche is still my fouvourite, and he's the reason I am where I am in my life right now. My MA's Major Research Project was/is entitled, "Friedrich Nietzsche and the Contingencies of Christianity." Quite quaint, I think. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Final MA Presentation on Nietzsche's Zarathustra

On the Spirit of Gravity
In facing the spirit of gravity, Lampert explains, Zarathustra finally “confronts his mortal enemy in a way that finally exposes it completely” (p. 196). It is the “master of the world,” meaning the age-old will-to-nothingness within man. “As such it is the force holding everyone” stagnant – it is nihilism. When this oppressive spirit within man was mentioned in “The Dancing Song,” it was only as a precursor for a victory yet to come. It is in this section of Zarathustra that Nietzsche makes clear why it is the master of the world, how it can be overcome, and why defeating it would mean the rise of a new age. The reason it is master of the world, is because it gives things an unwarranted weight that makes them, and, hence, life, seem intrinsically bogged down, heavy and hopeless. Thus, it “is Zarathustra’s special devil because, as master of the world,” it must also be what is mastered by Zarathustra. If it is the weight of a nihilistically intuitive worldview and sentimentality, then it is, indeed, Zarathustra’s special devil, that is, his special task, and the task that he has known all along, and which has been ominously weighing down on him from the moment he stepped out of his cave. For this adversary is not a weak or cowardly one, albeit subterranean in nature. This is a most worthy adversary of Zarathustra’s, and one which will require every ounce of his free spirit in order to claim victory over it, and, to be sure, it is his “most important victory” (Lampert, p. 197). The reason being is that Zarathustra’s mission is a revaluation of all values  that is, in giving a new value, a new weight, to all things. He can only achieve this, after getting rid of what currently gives things their weight and value – that, of course, being the spirit of gravity. It is his one true stumbling block in achieving and living out his mission.

Lampert explains that this victory is not merely a doing away with this spirit of gravity through ascension and light feet, but rather re-centering the gravity, to give less weight to those things which have been a stumbling block to humanity, and more weight to those things which are worthy of greater significance, but which have been deprived of it by this anti-life-affirming spirit. The very notion of the eternal return, which is itself the heaviest of burdens, is to be used to reform the spirit of gravity into something worthy of the overman, and which can replace the mainstream descent of mankind with ascension. This requires an affirmative will, which demands that only the consummation of life eternally return, not a nihilistic spirit that saps humanity of its precious vitality (which is something of utmost importance to Nietzsche) preventing the very possibility of the overman.

One of the tactics the spirit of gravity uses is grounding its inexorable demands of individuals in claiming they owe it to their very nature, or are obliged out of duty to others and to themselves, to prostrate themselves before the divine truths that come from a God that loves them and wants what is best for them, that they follow conventions and morality of custom that have merely been foisted upon mankind for millennia. Hence people feel the need to adopt the views of men who have been dead for centuries, in order to please the herd, who have completely fallen for the spirit of gravity, as if it is genuine, absolute truth a priori  as if it is the holiest of spirits compelling them towards what they ought to do to achieve righteousness and transcendence. It makes one feel as if they are only being authentic when being as inauthentic as possible, and that they are consummating themselves with nature, all the while they are living in a state of anti-nature. It is the turning of truth upon its head, and the propagation of conventional truths and morality generation after generation, limiting the horizon, stifling individuality, and castrating any hope of reaching a oneness with a genuine state of nature. As Lampert says, “The spirit of gravity is the force that ties one’s deepest loyalties to external matters that come out of the past, bearing the weight of grave tradition and certified as one’s own by every authority that counts” (p. 198). A real, true “own,” however, is one’s true, natural self, free from unwarranted guilt and external compulsions like convention. A free spirit works from internal compulsion; that is, what belongs to him/herself, and not from the dogmas of herd-mentality that come from without. That is a form of slavery, not free-spiritedness. Therefore, Zarathustra advocates a love of oneself as what truly belongs to a person’s desires, thoughts and feelings, minus the desires, thoughts and feelings of what Heidegger referred to as the “they-self.” The love of one’s own is dominant through all and everyone, Nietzsche realized, but wished to compel people to free themselves from being bogged down by the love of what is their own through acquisition, rather than what is really and truly their own genuinely.

Lampert says that, to be specific, one can think of the spirit of gravity as Platonism, which has always been Nietzsche’s main target. I think of it more as being the spirit of Platonism, that is, the intrinsic drive within the herd towards Platonic type thinking, hence why at the end of the Anti-Christ he refers to Christianity, which is Platonism for the people, as an “intrinsic depravity.” It has mastered the world by making its demands appear sacrosanct and worthy of reverence by claiming them to be not only holy, but the true, authentic nature within man – that is, its crafty claim that our true nature is to transcend our bodies and the things of this world. What has followed from this poisonous cobweb spinning, is that everything that grounds our centre of gravity towards the earth and this life has been decentred, in the process replacing our joy in life with a solemnity in life, poisoning life through the human mind with its anti-natural, anti-life-affirming venom, replacing good, strong, ascending instincts, with bad, crippling, degenerate ones. Humanity has for too long believed that the undignified, and what saps us of any and all dignity whatsoever, is what is truly dignified. Therefore, humankind will only ever truly progress, when it finally sees through these subterranean tactics; and in freeing itself from such shackles, it will ascend. Humanity, or a given individual, must allow themselves to find their place within nature, once again, and the only way we can accomplish this, is when we do away with this most wearying, vitality-sapping, utterly depressant spirit of gravity, and, in the process, all the products of its venom and vitriol will have also been done away with – Platonism, Christianity, dualism, the will-to-equality, pessimism, and so on. It is all nihilism, and it is, for Nietzsche, an awful annihilation of the human spirit. This can well be paralleled with his words in Ecce Homo:
And lest I leave any doubt about my very decent and strict views in these matters, let me still cite a proposition against vice from my moral code: I use the word vice in my fight against every kind of antinature or, if you prefer pretty words, idealism. The proposition reads: The preaching of chastity amounts to a public incitement to antinature. Every kind of contempt for sex, every impurification of it by means of the concept ‘impure,’ is the crime par excellence against life – is the real sin against the holy spirit of life.
The chapter begins with a poetic play on words that are to exemplify and mirror Zarathustra’s very bodily being, which itself, in all its movements, activities, joyful instincts and creativity opposes the spirit of gravity, which is not swift enough to overtake Zarathustra’s dancing feet. Rather than to go under, his aim is to ascend towards the heights of the soul that is worthy of love, a soul that is to overcome the many ignoble lies of Plato and Christianity and is, therefore, able to love itself. It is not loving one’s neighbour which is the most noble, honest and righteous form of love, as propagated by popular convention post-Christianity, but rather a person’s love for him or herself. For one has to be able to love oneself before they can truly love another, and put oneself before others, in order to take others into consideration at all. This is Zarathustra’s special art-form, Lampert explains, for it teaches one to love themselves, in order to locate their greatest and most profoundest of inner qualities; their eyes of care and concern are fixed inwards, rather than merely outwards towards people, who, for the most part, may not care about them at all. Hence why “the classical distinction between love of one’s own and love of the good collapses for the artist who discovers in what is his own what is most lovable or what is good in itself” (p. 200). This is how the spirit of gravity or Platonism is to be overcome. The good is to be located in the self and the love of the self, not in Plato’s World of Ideas and not in Christianity’s notions of morality, holiness and the Kingdom of Heaven. As Nietzsche rightly quipped in Will to Power note 871, “Has it been noticed that in heaven all the interesting men are missing? [ ... If one reflects with some consistency, Nietzsche continues, and moreover with a deepened insight into what a great man is, no doubt remains that the church sends all great men to hell—it fights against all greatness of man.] That is, if the Christian heaven exists, it is filled with people who were, in life, too cowardly to fulfill their passions, to push their creativity to its fullest infinitude of potential, and to dare to even question authority. Zarathustra is not of this kind.

He who embraces the infinite horizon of life, annihilating all “boundary stones” in his way, will “rebaptize the earth” Nietzsche tells us, and he is called “the light one.” “But whoever would become light and a bird must love himself,” Zarathustra teaches. And they must love themselves with a “wholesome and healthy love,” so that they can tolerate being themselves and alone with themselves, without the need of fleeing themselves into another, as with the masquerade and pretense of loving their neighbour out of so-called duty, when really it is out of an inner need to be more and feel like more – in fact, to no longer have to peer into the disingenuous wasteland  of themselves. Such a gravity-laden command, found in Mark 12:31, of loving one’s neighbour as much as oneself, despite who one’s neighbour might be, Nietzsche believes, has spawned the greatest of lies and hypocrisies perpetrated against human life so far, especially by those who have been the greatest of burdens to themselves and to others, giving them holy reason to intrude in the affairs of their neighbours out of what they call “love.” Not to mention that to make a duty out of life, sucks the life out of life.

From birth, Zarathustra explains, we are burdened with the notions of “good” and “evil,” which are craftily and vengefully presented to us as invaluable knowledge that has, we are to believe without question, been gifted to us by the grace of God himself. Nietzsche satirizes Matthew 19:14 and Mark 10:14, where Christ says, “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” having his Zarathustra claim, or insinuate, that it [this Gospel verse] is [designed] for the purpose of filling little children with perverted lies that keep them from even being able to love themselves, due to the unwarranted guilt that the spirit of gravity demands they be infected with while they are still too helpless to defend themselves intellectually. Zarathustra then denies ardently that life is a burden, that is, a veil of tears, as Christianity, AKA: the spirit of gravity, would have us believe; rather, it is man who “is a grave burden to himself,” for “he carries on his shoulders too much that is alien to him,” that is, the external compulsions that do not belong to his true nature, and true desires. “He loads too many alien grave words and values on himself,” says Zarathustra, “and then life seems a desert to him.”

Zarathustra rightly admits, however, that what is noblest and greatest in an individual is also a burden, that is, it is burdensome for the profound, prolific free spirit who, like Zarathustra, demands that they locate this greatness within themselves, uncovering what is most awesome in their soul. It is no easy task, especially since the spirit of gravity stands before the soul like a giant cyclops, refusing to see or hear anything other than his own tunnel-vision, preventing the entrance to the greatness within oneself to even be suspected, let alone seen. However, he who discovers this profundity within himself, is able to create his own values, and say, “this is my good and evil,” and with that is able to stifle the mole and dwarf, that is, the petty, who express their will-to-power with the poisonous life-violations of absolute morality, a high and mighty claim to a, “Good for all, evil for all.” But life is not a cookie cutter – far from it – which is why he ends by telling those who asked him for “the way” what his way is, “for the way – that does not exist.”

 Nor, moreover, is Zarathustra impressed by those who are satisfied with everything in life, always saying yes to things big and small – omni-satisfaction, Zarathustra calls it while demanding a refined palpate, a rank of taste. He says he loves blood and wants it mixed with the colours of life; that is, he loves life with a whole heart, and if he says Yea to something, it is not like the ass who says it to everything, but, rather, because it speaks to his very soul, and calls out to him, and, thus, he to it. A satisfaction with everything, on the other hand, is akin to falling in love with deadness – a morbid romance with mummies and ghosts, stagnant values that one is either too lazy or afraid to overcome – that is, a love of things rather than life: empty, superficial love, void of passion, void of the depths of the bodily soul – void of creation and revaluation. Such people as this love simply for the sake of loving, out of the will-to-convention and the virtues that make small. Instead of any kind of person, or soul, as Zarathustra calls it, within them, they have merely phantoms passing through them from moment to moment. There is no person to be found, or to hold on to. There is no one to do any grasping for life.

He calls cursed those who are only able to either “become evil beasts or evil tamers of beasts” and nothing else. They are cursed, for their horizon is forever limited, and their lives are as meagre and as bland as can be. The same goes, Zarathustra explains, for those who do nothing but wait: “the publicans and shopkeepers and kings and other land- and storekeepers.” Their lives are boring, gloomy and dry, and instead of trying to do and be more, they simply look ahead, as if better things may come tomorrow, without them having to even try to better themselves and their lives. They are men and women of sloth and boredom. “This, however, is my doctrine,” Zarathustra says: “he who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance: one cannot fly into flying.” If one is to ascend, therefore, they must be able to first put one step forward and enhance their vitality and lust for life. Before Zarathustra learned to fly like a bird, he explains to them, he first had to learn to climb to the heights of high masts. This was his way of reaching his truth, he explains, and “preferred to question and try out the ways themselves.” “A trying and questioning was my every move,” he says, “and verily, one must also learn to answer such questioning. That, however, is my taste – not good, not bad, but my taste of which I am no longer ashamed and which I have no wish to hide.” That is, one cannot fear going out into the world, trying and experiencing new things, thinking new and often frightful thoughts and ideas, and searching for themselves, in order to then be true to that self that they have discovered and which must never stagnate and be satisfied with complacency, but, rather, always change and overcome itself. We each have to find our own way, however, for there can never be one way. Life is far too dynamic, and each person is unique – just like everybody else.

On Old and New Tablets:
Joy and innocence are not things to be sought, only had; rather it is guilt and suffering that are sought. However, Zarathustra, and those of his kind, feel no joy if they do not give it in return, unlike the rabble, who are complacent in living as if not alive at all.
Those with an unclean spirit, monstrous in their foul pessimism, like Schopenhauer, are despisers of life and the world, and claim the world to be objectively bad, but that is only because they are bad, that is, failures in it from the start, who hang their heads in shame and so wish to throw shame upon the world. Their nausea is to be overcome, for it is infectious, and takes flight.
Without laughter and dance, life is not worth living, for nothing would be worth doing. A day goes unfulfilled if deficient joy and laughter.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Third MA Presentation on Nietzsche's Zarathustra

On Passing By
On his way back to his cave Zarathustra came across the gate of a giant city. A man consumed by wrath and indignation stood between him and the entrance, forbidding Zarathustra to enter, for he cared about his hero too much, to have him experience the disgust, nausea and contempt that he had experienced there himself. He was enraged by the inhabitants of the city, frothing at the mouth as he warned of their stupidity and retardation, fuming about their press, their educational system, their morality of custom, their religiosity, their decadence – their weakness. He tells Zarathustra that such a place is hell itself for a hermit such as he – that is, a man of rumination, thoughtfulness and concern. He tells Zarathustra that it is a city where “you could find nothing and lose everything.” That is, he himself has gained nothing there but heartache and misery, rather than the enrichment of his soul, and, in the process, he has lost his patience, his kindness, his love of humanity – possibly even his mind. Nothing consumes him now but indignation and disdain. “Don’t you smell the slaughterhouses and ovens of the spirit even now?” he asks Zarathustra. “Does not this town steam with fumes of slaughtered spirit?” In this way he betrays that his own spirit has been slaughtered by the rabid base-mindedness of the mob there, and now all that is left in him is the need to lash out at a city that has taken everything from him that made him the life-affirming free spirit that he once was, turning him into the man of resentment and hostility, standing before Zarathustra now.

He rants that they are easily fulfilled by base things such as alcohol, the empty words of disinterested spirits (or frozen spirits, as he calls them) and are mindlessly led like sheep by the status quo. He detests them more than anything he could ever possibly imagine, and so he spits and snarls as he raves and points his finger at the gate. The virtuous among them are not, this supposed disciple of Zarathustra explains, virtuous in Zarathustra’s sense, but rather virtuous in their sense. The virtuous ones of this morbid, forlorn city dwelling ominously behind the gate are flatterers, phonies, play-actors and liars; that is, they are the representatives of the inhabitants of the city, telling them what they want to hear, by merely echoing and affirming their thoughts, beliefs and so-called truths. They are the moral heroes of the town because they exalt the social mores and attitudes of the people within it, and so the citizens cheer on these ostentatious thinkers, writers and orators, and, in doing so, they cheer on their own vulgar, impoverished egos. They count on these so-called virtuous ones of theirs to justify their petty lives, petty thoughts, petty feelings, petty piety, petty virtues. So this man of wrath and dismay pleads with his master to spit at the entrance of the city, rather than enter it, and keep walking. For it is a city of “shopkeepers,” meaning plebeians of small lives and low-mindedness.

Zarathustra at this point silences this ranting, raving fool, foaming at the mouth, for he is officially as nauseated by him as he is by the town of degenerates. He feels that his teachings have been defamed by coming out of the mouth of such an unsophisticated, vengeance-fuelled fool such as this. He asks him why he so masochistically spent so much time in a lifeless place that he hates so much, until he himself was destroyed by it and made into a mere shell of the man he once was. All this madman can offer anyone now is his nihilistic wrath of despondence and unfaith. He has dark, hopeless veils over his eyes, and can’t affirm, since he no longer feels that anything there is salvageable. Zarathustra reprimands him for now being led and controlled by so much hateful resentment and revenge, two things which he has made clear that he despises. The fool has allowed the muck and swamp of a people he refers to as frogs and toads to pollute his spirit and turn him into one as well. He is called the ape of Zarathustra because he is merely an imitation of Zarathustra’s very high standard, and is too apish to realize that he is acting in a way that is pitiful and lowbrow in the eyes of the philosopher and poet that he so thoroughly admires. But Zarathustra realizes, after a long silence, that this misguided disciple of his was right in there being nothing to better or worsen in that great city, and wishes it the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, making his feelings towards the city just as hostile and acrid as the fool’s, if not more so. This shows, Lampert explains, that “Zarathustra and the fool have the same advice for each other based on” the irony “that each can see in the other but not in himself,” showing that “to abide in the place that is loathed,” thoroughly “corrupts the one who loathes,” even to the point of blindness towards the self. Before he leaves, however, he gives one piece of wisdom for the plight of the fool before him that “where one can no longer love, there one should pass by. And continuing on in his journey, he left the fool and the great city behind. Perhaps if he had not heeded the warnings of the fool, and entered this great city, he himself would have lost all of his loving nature as well, and become as this fool, whose very presence is a warning on its own of what Zarathustra, or any free spirit, for that matter, could turn into, if consumed by the wrong surroundings  for too long.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Second MA Presentation on Nietzsche's Zarathustra

On Immaculate Perception

This section begins with a pregnancy, but this pregnancy is a fallacious one. It offers nothing to Zarathustra but deceit, and the one to be pointed out and censured for this trickery is “the monk in the moon,” who, we are told, is “lecherous after the earth and all the joys of lovers.” That is, he is resentful towards what he cannot have, and so he condemns it. His lecherousness resides in the fact that because he cannot have the joys of the earth, he craves them even more – out of lust, pride and vanity, all things he surely condemns. And the only way he can assail these things that he feels alienated from and deprived of, is through condemnation and an unearned feeling of virtue and superiority through false claims of morality, purity and holiness because he does not indulge in them (albeit because he can’t), nor does he desire them (at least not with the innocence of those he condemns because they can indulge in them). “O you sentimental hypocrites, you lechers,” Zarathustra tells such people. “You lack innocence in your desire and therefore you slander desire,” for they desire only in contempt and with eyes of envy. They call themselves “pure perceivers” because they look, but do not indulge, and put on this facade under the pretext that it is due to their will-power and self-mastery that they do not take part in carnal and worldly joys. And so they take pride in this ostentation, though Zarathustra sees them for the dishonest, pretentious inverse-hedonists that they are, and he condemns them with the same ferocity that they condemn others; and he condemns them for the same carnality and foulness that they perceive and scold in others, for they are just as lascivious as he is, if not more so, however quench this thirst of theirs differently; for that desire is still at bottom the same as it is in those they call wicked, for it still resides in their bodies, making it just as carnal, even if it does become satiated through a different means: “You too love the earth and the earthly,” Zarathustra tells them: “I have seen through you; but there is shame in your love and bad conscience – you are like the moon. Your spirit has been persuaded to despise the earthly; but your entrails have not been persuaded, and they are what is strongest in you. And now your spirit is ashamed at having given in to your entrails, and, to hide from its shame, it sneaks on furtive and lying paths.” That is, no matter how much they condemn these things they cannot have, they still desire them, although they never admit this to themselves, and the drive and need towards these things that have left a void within them still rages on within their veins, and it must be fulfilled somehow, and it is through ascetic morality that their wrathful natures and inverted bodily lusts are sublimated.

This is how their shame is done away with: through the mask and masquerade of claims of virtue, godliness, holiness, righteousness, purity, etc., but Nietzsche knows that these are just words used to cover up shame, guilt and feelings of failure and inadequacy and to replace them with feelings of justification and consolation. It is a life of disingenuousness, wretchedness, crafty vengefulness and untruth. As he says in The Anti-Christ: Nihilistic values hold sway under the holiest names.” And of course his stern warning: “Compulsion to lie  in that I detect every predestined theologian.” His Zarathustra peers into their minds and reads their thoughts: “‘To be happy in looking, with a will that has died and without the grasping and greed of selfishness, the whole body cold and ashen, but with drunken moon eyes. This I should like best’ – thus the seduced seduces himself.” And, of course, this self-seduction, this self-deceit, grants this type of person a feeling of good conscience, which is the only joyous sensation left for him or her. As he also states elsewhere in The Anti-Christ: “Whoever has theologian blood in his veins has a wrong and dishonest attitude towards all things from the very first. The pathos that develops out of this is called faith: closing one’s eyes with respect to oneself for good and all so as not to suffer from the sight of incurable falsity.”

Moreover, the imagery Nietzsche uses of a “cold and ashen” body ties in quite well with an interpretation of the statement “God is dead,” which is rarely discussed or even touched upon. As far as Nietzsche could see, the Christian god wants more than anything that we deny ourselves the sensualities and worldliness of this life (Stoic philosophy, the dominating philosophy of Tarsus, where St. Paul was from, being the backbone of the New Testament). But for Nietzsche, self-denial is the embrace of nothingness (a dominating theme throughout his later works). It is the embrace of death while still alive. Basically, it is the crucifixion of all that makes us human. For Nietzsche, the ascetic monk who has been able to kill off all his desires, and blunt himself against life, is officially dead. He walks, talks, eats, breathes, etc., but he is dead  the shell of a hallow man, one might say. And because the Christian god wants self-abnegation of us as an ideal, he – is dead. It is for this that in Twilight of the Idols he calls Christianity a “hangman’s metaphysics,” (The Four Great Errors, 7), and says that “Christianity, which despised the body, has up till now been mankind’s greatest misfortune” (Expeditions, 47). Or as he so succinctly summed it up in The Anti-Christ: “In God nothingness deified, the will to nothingness sanctified!” (18). For all that is left for a person in such a morbid state of a constantly longing, unfilled will, is to express their will to power by willing nothing at all and easing their suffering of un-fulfillment by killing off that which demands fulfillment – that, of course, being desire. And, hence, his thesis statement and conclusion to his third and final essay of On the Genealogy of Morals, What is the Meaning of Ascetic Ideals?  that “man would rather will nothingness than not will.”
And the reason Nietzsche uses the imagery of the moon at all, in this section of Zarathustra, is because of the paleness he associates with the sick bodies of such a ghastly lot as this. And when he speaks of “drunken moon eyes,” he is speaking of the contemptuous, self-loathing, angst-ridden glance of the most lowly, subterranean character he has ever encountered in this life, best depicted in Book III, Section 14 of On the Genealogy of Morals:
The sick are man’s greatest danger; not the evil, not the “beasts of prey.” Those who are failures from the start, downtrodden, crushed – it is they, the weakest, who must undermine life among men, who call into question and poison most dangerously our trust in life, in man, and in ourselves. Where does one not encounter that veiled glance which burdens one with a profound sadness, that inward-turned glance of the born failure which betrays how such a man speaks to himself – that glance which is a sigh! “If only I were someone else,” sighs this glance: “but there is no hope of that. I am who I am: how could I ever get free of myself? And yet – I am sick of myself!
Now, back to the beginning: how is the pregnancy Nietzsche speaks of in the beginning of this section a false, empty one? Zarathustra chastises these people, who claim to have achieved an immaculate perception, with the accusation that “it is not as creators, procreators, and those who have joy in becoming that you love the earth. Where is innocence? Where there is a will to procreate. And he who wants to create beyond himself has the purest will.” The problem is that the type of person who is Nietzsche’s target here, cannot create beyond him or herself so condemns anyone who can, which, according to Nietzsche, makes their will quite impure and lacking any and all innocence, for they do not have a will to procreate. They lack joy in becoming, are not creators and are deficient any and all love of the earth and what proceeds from it, such as nature. They wage war on nature and wish to strip it bare with their idealistic, anti-natural, vengeance-fuelled morality. Although they put on the facade of sanctimony, it is for no one’s good but their own, making the supposed pregnancy which fools Zarathustra in the beginning, a mere veneer meant to conceal the fact that these loathsome, self-hating, life-hating human beings are walking, talking abortions. Who alone has reason to lie himself out of actuality?” asks Nietzsche in The Anti-Christ. “He who suffers from it. But to suffer from actuality means to be an abortive actuality.
          They mask their “emasculated leers,” Zarathustra says, with the label of so-called contemplation, and they baptize their sloth and cowardice in the face of even trying to reach their fullest potential with the label of beauty. This is how they “soil noble names,” as Nietzsche puts it: by calling what is ugly and atrocious wise, beautiful, profound, graceful, etc. These are hollow misrepresentations and inversions of the reality they really are: despisers of life, life-affirmation and the ascending type. They are decadents, and because they are filled with decay and can do nothing but live a life of decline, they sanctify decay and attempt to nullify all that pertains to what is antithetical to them and their petty expressions of will-to-power – that is, they condemn the ascending life and he or she who dares to live by it. It is this decay that has Zarathustra tell them that “bad air always surrounds you and your meals: for your lecherous thoughts, your lies and secrets, are in the air.” They are the Crucified type and, for Nietzsche, a breed of man that has always existed: world-weary calumniators of the earth, and slanderers of the body, completely degenerate in instinct, retarded in spirituality. They are a blight in the eye of the type free-spirit and the Dionysian free spirit a blight in theirs.
         To them, Zarathustra gives their well-earned imprecation – that though they may feel themselves powerful by attempting to limit the horizon of creators, hence what is meant by lying “broad and pregnant on the horizon,” they themselves will never give birth. They may experience the pangs of birth, but to no avail. To try and placate these birth-pangs they may use all the aforesaid tactics, but Zarathustra tells them, “Verily, you fill your mouth with noble words; and are we to believe that your heart is overflowing, you liars?” That is, it is nothing pure and genuine, in Nietzsche’s sense, that overflows in them, only ressentiment and hatred of anything that ascends above them. That is why they are actually snakes behind godlike masks of purity, holiness and philosophical contemplation. They are not immaculate perceivers; they are cowardly, vicious, contemptuous, corrupt perceivers, and all their hopes, tenets and goals are tainted with their decay and despondence in the eyes of life. So it is inevitable that when the day dawns, the paleness that they share with the moon should set with them. Because, though they may try to overcome life and those who are able to consummate themselves with it, they are destined to lose, because what are they in the face of everything, but dust, and a passing away, and something to be overcome? The love and passion for life born in those of spiritual kin to Zarathustra, is of the liking to Nietzsche’s depiction here of the sun sucking up the sea and drinking its depth into its heights and the whole of life demanding that it be this way, for “it wants to be kissed and sucked by the thirst of the sun; it wants to become air and height and footpath of light, and itself light. Verily, like the sun,” Zarathustra says, “I love life and the deep seas,” and because Zarathustra and life are meant to be consummated together – because everything in him aches to suck the marrow out of life  he feels that life itself, as with the infinite horizon of the sea, wishes to rise up to his heights. He effects life, life does not merely effect him.
         According to Lampert, this section of Zarathustra has specifically to do with scholars and philosophers who deny themselves the body, as is Socrates’ demand in The Phaedo, in order to better achieve enlightenment and objective knowledge “by ridding the self of the distortions of personal and local perspectives.” They think that one must kill off the bodily in order to sufficiently subdue the subjective aspect of perception in order to reach immaculate, that is, objective, perception. Nietzsche himself in his earlier work of Human, All-Too Human, did critique the ascetic ideal, however, he did believe that objective knowledge was possible, for at that time he held the view of a positive scientist. As Lampert says, “He had admired as divine the aspiration of the modern philosopher or scientific researcher to become the perspective-free viewer of the thing to be known, to achieve what they themselves want to call ‘contemplation.’” He also explains that it is Zarathustra’s goal here to fill with shame these so-called objective spirits, by using sexual imagery to show them that they are merely ashamed of the lusts inside themselves that they feel are impure, so demand that they be extirpated, along with the whole of their passions, in order to be virtuous men of knowledge. However, their entire endeavour is merely a way of sublimating their bodily lusts in a different fashion – by draping them in scholasticism. It is a weapon and tool for their inferiority and feebleness, a mask and masquerade. “Desiring separation from their own bodily grounds,” Lampert explains, “their spirits reinterpret the earth as a place congenial only to spirit.” This can well be paralleled with aphorism 352 of The Gay Science, where Nietzsche propounds that the person who needs this moral attire the most, is not the barbaric type, but the weak “herd animal with its profound mediocrity, timidity, and boredom with itself,” who then uses morality to appear justified and “divine.”
         However, according to Lampert, this section becomes an assault on modern technology, and the barrenness of the moon refers to the emptiness and nihilism it has left in its path across the earth. The sham of the labour spoken of in the beginning, is the failure of this new technological era to really produce anything of real value by Zarathustra’s very high standards of ascension and life-affirmation, and it is to be eclipsed by the posterity represented by Zarathustra’s rising sun. It is the rising sun of a new age, and is the rival of these morbid men of the moon, who lack true spirit, but are rather fuelled by the spirit of self-annihilation and the will-to-nothingness. Their will-to-the-end and hostile will-to-impotence is to be overcome by the fertility of this new sun, that is, this new age of generations to come, and the barrenness of their moon to be finally defeated by this fertility, which is so profound and overwhelming that it sucks up the earth and the sea into its spiritual height. That is, the world is to be shaped by a new standard – a standard of overcoming and an impassioned, Dionysian love of life. Hence Nietzsche’s concluding words to Daybreak:
And whither then would we go? Would we cross the sea? Whither does this mighty longing draw us, this longing that is worth more to us than any pleasure? Why just in this direction, thither where all the suns of humanity have hitherto gone down? Will it perhaps be said of us one day that we too, steering westward, hoped to reach India  but that it was our fate to be wrecked against infinity? Or, my brothers. Or? –

Friday, March 18, 2011

First MA Presentation on Thus Spoke Zarathustra

The first section of Upon the Blessed Isles could be referring to Nietzsche’s task of cleansing the world of monotheistic dogmatism, for he is a wind from the North, which could be referring to him being Nordic, and the figs could be referring to the desert religions, because of the popularity of figs and dried figs in Middle-Eastern culture. Then Nietzsche makes much of the beautiful surroundings of the earth, the sky, the sea and the seasons in order to introduce through all of this the overman, who is a person that is grounded and centred within the earth and worldliness. And because the overman brings so much promise with him, Lampert explains that, despite how beautiful and fruitful the present may be, and no matter how ripe life and Zarathustra’s new philosophy are for the taking, his disciples “are to gaze into a distant future, to the still more abundant time of the superman.” In fact, Zarathustra says that “into fathers and forefathers of the overman” can his disciples re-create themselves, and he demands that it be the best of all their creations.
God is something merely presupposed, according to Zarathustra, which, even if false, isn’t necessarily, at least not here, what he condemns in it. The problem is that a god would be something beyond one’s creative will, and since no one can actually create a god, Zarathustra says, “do not speak to me of any gods.” However, the overman can be created and striven for, and he is something (perhaps merely a construct) which is the dominating theme of this section of the book. In fact, according to Lampert, the goal of the overman “is incompatible with any teaching of God or gods,” and theism is a “temptation to which his disciples” have fallen prey to. The problem is that God stifles creativity, whereas the overman livens and inspires it. He is an invigorating source of one’s creative will to power. Lampert seems to be reaching, however, when he states that the overman is the inevitable outcome of the will to truth, whereas gods cannot be. For Nietzsche, the will to truth is the human need for metaphysics, and it often shows itself in human-all-too-human beliefs and ventures that are quite untrue and frivolous. He spawned much critique of the will to truth, which in The Gay Science he associates with a curious will to death. Zarathustra gives a normative claim as to what the will to truth ought to be: “that everything be changed into what is thinkable for man, visible for man, feelable by man. You should think through your own senses to their consequences.” This is the demand that the desire for the truth not be for the extra-worldly and unattainable, which can only be achieved through pure contemplation, as with the permanence of Parmenides and the forms of Plato, but rather be directed towards the possible, the real and the achievable. He tells his followers, “And what you have called world, that shall be created only by you: your reason, your image, your will, your love shall thus be realized. And verily, for your own bliss, you lovers of knowledge.” This means that not only are they to be courageous in the face of reality, unlike Plato, who, as Nietzsche says in Twilight of the Idols, was a coward in the face of reality and so hid in the ideal, but also that they are to affirm and shape reality and life through their creativity and, hence, self-cultivation. They are to use knowledge as a tool and key to unlock joy and the exuberance of an ever-expanding horizon. All this, will, then, in turn, give them mastery over themselves and the earth, and the happiness of a fulfilled, consummated life and perspective. Meaning, what Zarathustra is offering them here is self-empowerment and honest, prolific fulfillment through the embrace of realism, nature and earthliness. For Nietzsche, a true lover of knowledge would not want things to be any other way, for life would otherwise be unbearable for him. A true lover of knowledge cannot tolerate the incomprehensible or irrational.
As for the existence of the gods, the very fact that Zarathustra could not be one has him negate the possibility of their existence altogether, for he could not tolerate not being able to reach the highest of heights. This, says Lampert, exemplifies Zarathustra’s yearning, which “points to” his heart’s “ruling love of victory.” It is “a rivalry that would be unbearable if such rivals existed.” For Lampert, there is a direct link between Nietzsche’s attack on the gods and his exaltation of man; for “having once drawn the conclusion that no gods exist, a victory-loving man governed by the will to truth is drawn by the conclusion that man is the highest being and the creative thinker the highest man,” and for a person such as this, “the highest thinkable victory must be seen as possible, the whole world must be seen as potentially at his disposal.” This, of course, brings us back to Nietzsche’s realism, his earth-centred will-to-power, and his vision of ascending towards the greatest of all achievements, the overman.
Nietzsche then explicitly attacks Platonic and theistic notions of permanence. He says that “God is a thought that makes crooked all that is straight, and makes turn whatever stands.” His Zarathustra asks, “Should time be gone, and all that is impermanent a mere lie?” That is, to think of this world as being a mere appearance of something far more profound and transcendent is the inversion of reality, and the centering of a person’s gravity towards the unreal, the idealistic and the anti-naturalistic. He calls such thinking evil and misanthropic, for it poisons people by convincing them that this world and this life are not to be affirmed but denied for another one, and implies at the end that this metaphysical, ethereal way of thinking is to be blamed on the poets who couldn’t handle reality as it is, and so had to make up a great beyond to negate it. Zarathustra protests this and demands that all parables praise and justify all impermanence. Lampert puts emphasis on the fear of death as being the sole reason that this otherworldliness had to be invented by the poets and sustained by their fabricated gods in the first place. “The creativity of the poets who attribute the world to the creativity of gods,” says Lampert, “is to be replaced by the creativity of men who know themselves to be creating a human world.” Zarathustra praises our fleeting, mortal lives, and calls for a poetry that would “celebrate and reflect the creative life that is itself a series of deaths and transformations,” hence why he states, “that the creator may be, suffering is needed and much change. Indeed, there must be much bitter dying in your life, you creators.” The creating and shaping of the beautiful “in the celebration of mortal things seems to be” Zarathustra’s preferred response to the oppressive, looming fear of death, according to Lampert. Zarathustra explains that creation is the great redeemer of suffering and nihilistic feelings of life’s meaninglessness. This is what justifies all impermanence. He likens the creator, or artist, to a woman in labour, and speaks of “the pangs of the birth-giver,” which is Nietzsche’s metaphorical and poetic likening of labour pains to the suffering of, and eventual pangs within, the artist in creating, or being led to create, something new and life-enhancing, hence why he likens the artistic creation to a “child who is newly born.”
What is unique about Zarathustra is that his fervent will of creating is impelled towards men as the sculpture’s hammer is impelled toward stone. In shaping men with a hammer he aims to bring the overman out of them - for the overman is a mere shadow now - and this, to him, is the greatest creation and gift he could ever give to mankind, as both an artist and philosopher. This kind of willing, Nietzsche feels, is his ultimate liberation, as willing itself, we are told, is something liberating, and this is, as far as I can see, a praise of art as a catalyst towards self-emancipation. “Whatever in me has feeling,” says Zarathustra, “suffers and is in prison; but my will always comes to me as my liberator and joy-bringer.” That is, he is set free through his philosophical, artistic endeavours. They are his passion, and he is compelled from within himself to fulfill this ardour of his. In this way, it is released into the world of people, and for him, this is truly a beautiful, life-affirming expression of his will to power. To will no more and esteem no longer, however, are things that Nietzsche sincerely wants to stay far away from him, for such a way of being is a nihilistic expression of bodily and world-weariness and the embrace of nothingness – it is the will to nothingness, and it is something that a free spirit wants no part of. For his disciples to become bridges to the overman, they must free the will imprisoned inside them. And now that he has discovered the very notion of the overman – a being so great, prolific and profound – he asks, “O my brothers, what are the gods to me now?”