Posts : 101 Join date : 2011-12-15 Age : 38 Location : Amsterdam
Subject: Re: Wreaking crisis. Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:53 pm
Fixed Cross wrote:
FC, I think that, with that note, we're back full circle to my OP. We must make "contemporary Europe" "more evil and painful"!
You're perfectly right there.
This is a fertile line of thought. Thus I think my "self-overcomings" with regard to music could fit into this framework (tonal music as the fast food, the soft drink of music: I already compared the major and minor scales to sweet and bitter tastes repeatedly in the past). But first, I will start a new thread on that note.
Posts : 1087 Join date : 2016-08-06 Location : Florida
Subject: Re: Wreaking crisis. Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:16 pm
Good article. Nothing new for me. I have watched this trend that actually started in the late 1970s.
It just keeps going down, down, down.
I actually stopped listening to radio in the late 1970s. And I did try hard to remain with at least the Rock scene. Just couldn't handle it.
But it is refreshing for me working with the music I recently was presented. Working with Blues music currently. Mostly the original stuff from the 1930s, 40s, and early 50s. It's actually music. Imagine that!!!
Before Sisyphus made his posts, I still half intended to respond, but after he posted, I decided to leave this thread alone. (FC and T made good points about modern education and capitalism, respectively; but Nietzsche already raised the education issue, even in his early writings, and I think it’s a problem implicit in modernity (the modern democratic movement); and as for capitalism, I'm again fundamentally against its modern variant. I’m against modernity as a whole, but within modernity, I’m with the “progressives” rather than with the conservatives; I certainly see no reason to preserve modernity! though I do think it must be affirmed in transcending it--as something that passes.)
Sisyphus’ posts dissuaded me because I think there is perhaps no surer way to insult someone than by criticising his musical taste, and I didn’t want to insult Sisyphus. Not that I think he would feel particularly insulted, and I think the music he mentions is probably at least relatively noble, but the same may not apply for other readers.
Little over two weeks ago I was confronted with blatant ignobility on the part of someone closely related to me. This then prompted me to write the following on Facebook:
In this age of ignobility, with which everyone is infected, the most pressing need is to recognise and resist ignoble behaviour in oneself: to slow down and even halt, react slowly or not react at all. But for this one must have a VISION of nobility.
And, in the brief discussion that ensued:
"Everyone" also refers to MYSELF. I'm not saying the most pressing need is to recognise and resist ignoble behaviour in OTHERS; that resistance should only be a SIDE-EFFECT of one's resisting it in ONESELF, even if one is prompted to do so by the ignoble behaviour of others. But yeah, I DO want to resist the ignobility of others, in fact I want to combat their infection. My posting my statement here is an instance of all this. After all, if I, who have pursued this vision since my school years, am still infected and struggling with ignobility, then how much more all YOU poor schmucks!
Also, how is wanting to inform you guys about my vision at odds with my statement? It's an active form of resistance, a statement indeed, a pro-testation. I place these texts as boulders on the digital speedway. They attest to the fact that there are still forces radically different from the mainstream, even on Facebook.
Since then, I've pondered on how to best combat the infection of others. I was thinking music should be a particularly effective means. But how does on make people see that their taste is bad? There must be something to make them want to learn to appreciate things counter to their taste and vice versa. And this brought me straight back to my 2008 essay (attempt) to define Nietzsche's concept of the grand style:
Again, there has been little activity in this group lately, and again, that doesn't mean I have abandoned it.
I have been active on a Nietzsche forum, among other things, where I further developed my understanding of the grand style.
First off, I found out the phrase 'im grossen Stil' is a standing expression in German meaning "on a grand scale". But the *key* to my current understanding of the concept was BGE 245:
"[A]s for Schumann, who took things seriously and was also taken seriously from the first -- he was the last to found a school --: do we not now think it a piece of good fortune, a relief, a liberation that this Schumann-romanticism has been overcome? Schumann, fleeing into the "Saxon Switzerland" [mountains south of Dresden] of his soul, his nature half Werther [the suicidal hero of Goethe's 'The Sorrows of Young Werther' (1774)], half Jean Paul, not at all like Beethoven, not at all Byronic! -- his music for Manfred is a mistake and misunderstanding to the point of injustice -- Schumann, with his taste which was fundamentally a *petty* taste ['ein kleiner Geschmack', "a small taste"; 'klein' is the usual antonym of 'gross', "great, grand"] (that is to say a dangerous inclination, doubly dangerous among Germans, for quiet lyricism and drunkenness of feeling), continually going aside, shyly withdrawing and retiring, a noble effeminate delighting in nothing but anonymous weal and woe, a kind of girl and noli me tangere [touch me not] from the first: this Schumann was already a merely *German* event in music, no longer a European event, as Beethoven was, as to an even greater extent Mozart had been -- in him German music was threatened with its greatest danger, that of *losing the voice for the soul of Europe* and sinking into a merely national affair."
Here Schumann's "petty" taste is directly connected to petty politics. And "classical taste" is evidently connected to "classical style", the precursor of the grand style, in some of Nietzsche's posthumously published notes -- which means we may connect pettiness of taste with pettiness of style.
petty style <--> petty politics
grand style <--> great politics ['die grosse Politik']
Nietzsche's "great politics" is politics on a grand scale: not nationalistic, but at least European, and ultimately worldwide.
Is great politics *only* politics on a grand scale? Would "wretched ephemeral babble of politics and *international* self-seeking", to paraphrase the preface to The Antichrist, count as great politics for Nietzsche? Certainly not. In what is evidently a sketch for the "Law Against Christianity" that concludes The Antichrist, Nietzsche writes:
"*First proposition*: great politics seeks to turn physiology into the ruler ['die Herrin'] over all other questions; it seeks to create a power strong enough to *breed* mankind as a whole and as something higher [compare TSZ, 'Of the Thousand and One Goals', where the "one goal" which first makes a whole of mankind is the creation of the Overman], with merciless severity against what degenerates and what parasitises life, -- against what corrupts, poisons, calumniates, ruins ... and sees in the destruction of life the mark of a higher species of soul." [Nachlass December 1888-beginning of January 1889 25 , my translation.]
My next step was inspired by something Moody Lawless, an esteemed member of this group, had once said: that great politics be politics aimed at the development of great men (my formulation).
Now from the last quote, it is evident that great politics is concerned primarily with the great man ['der grosse Mensch']: with the *breeding* of great men, with "the Olympian existence and ever-renewed procreation and preparation" of the great man, to speak with The Greek State. We have thus established the following connection:
grand style <-- great taste --> great politics --> the great man
But only great men have great taste, of course. The grand style thus follows from (the great taste of) the great man -- as does great politics. Great politics, which is politics as practiced by great men, is concerned with the development of the great man. This suggests that, likewise, the grand style is concerned with the development of the great man. But great politics and the grand style take different directions. Great politics is concerned with the actual, physical development of the great man: with breeding him, training him, preparing for and furthering his physical existence. May the grand style then be concerned with his *spiritual* development? A great man is a man whom Nature has constructed and invented in the grand style:
"A great man -- a man whom nature has constructed and invented in the grand style -- what is he?" [WTP 962.]
Before great men can practice great politics, i.e., politics aimed at the development of the great man, Nature must first have developed such great men (or at least *one* great man), that is, he must have come about "by accident", that is, unwillingly and/or unwittingly. This idea is also found in The Greek State:
"Here again we see with what pitiless inflexibility Nature, in order to arrive at Society, forges for herself the cruel tool of the State -- namely, that *conqueror* with the iron hand".
That conqueror is the "tool" of the State in that he *creates* the State, by conquering, in war, a strange people, and subjecting it, so that there arises a class society, of which the conquered people makes up the underclass, the base of the pyramid. The top of that pyramid is made up of what Nietzsche at the time of writing The Greek State still calls "geniuses", whom he will later call "great men" or "Overmen".
The "conqueror with the iron hand" is himself such a "genius":
"the military genius -- with whom we have become acquainted as the original founder of states." [ibid.]
The Greek word for "State" is 'polis', whence "politics". The Classical State (i.e., the organisation of society into classes or castes) is necessary for the *intentional* physical development of great men: hence "great politics" (the occupation with a pyramidal State focused at its top, the great man).
Great politics, then, is concerned with constructing and inventing men in the grand style. But men can also construct and invent *other* things than men: for instance, buildings, statues, musical compositions -- "artworks" in the narrow sense of the word. But the "beauty" of these artworks consists in their reminding us of the essential work of art: man himself:
"Nothing is more conditional -- or, let us say, *narrower* -- than our feeling for beauty. Whoever would think of it apart from man's joy in man would immediately lose any foothold. "Beautiful in itself" is a mere phrase, not even a concept. In the beautiful, man posits himself as the measure of perfection; in special cases he worships himself in it. A species *cannot* do otherwise but thus affirm itself alone. Its *lowest* instinct, that of self-preservation and self-expansion, still radiates in such sublimities." [Twilight, 'Skirmishes', 19.]
"The ugly is understood as a suggestion and symptom of degeneration: whatever reminds us in the least of degeneration causes in us the judgment of "ugly." Every indication of exhaustion, of heaviness, of age, of weariness; every kind of lack of freedom, such as cramps, such as paralysis; and above all, the smell, the color, the form of dissolution, of decomposition -- even in the ultimate attenuation into a symbol -- all evoke the same reaction, the value judgment, "ugly" ['hässlich', "hately"]. A *hatred* is aroused -- but whom does man hate then? But there is no doubt: the *decline of his type*. Here he hates out of the deepest instinct of the species; in this hatred there is a shudder, caution, depth, farsightedness—it is the deepest hatred there is. It is because of this that art is *deep*..." [ibid., 20.]
The converse is also true, of course: whatever reminds us in the least of "sursumgeneration" (generation upward) causes in us the judgment of "beautiful". A *love* is aroused -- whom does man love then? The *ascension of his type*. And "artworks" in the narrow sense may very well remind us of such ascension. An artwork in the grand style will remind the great man of the ascension of his type, and thereby cause the judgment "beautiful" in him. This is why the "beautiful feelings" an artist arouses prove nothing regarding his greatness: only if he arouses beautiful feelings in a *great man* do these feelings mean anything. So seeking to define the grand style inevitably leads us to the task of "defining" the great man. For my new "definition" of the grand style makes it a function of the great man:
"The grand style really communicates the soul of a great man."
There are two references to passages from Nietzsche's books in this "definition".
"*Good* is any style that really communicates an inner state". [Ecce Homo, 'Good Books', 4.]
"In the beginning, the noble caste was always the barbarian caste: their predominance did not lie mainly in physical strength but in strength of the soul -- they were more *whole* human beings (which also means, at every level, "more whole beasts")." [BGE 257.]
"Soul" does not mean a supernatural, immortal essence here, of course. As Zarathustra says in 'Of the Three Evils', the soul is the "symbol and epitome" ('Gleichniss und Auszug') of the body. It is on the body that we must focus, then. We must occupy ourselves with great politics! But in order to do that, we must ourselves be great men. Then again, that is precisely what Nietzsche expects from his readers: consider the preface to The Antichrist.
There belongs an addendum to this, but first, I want to go off on a little tangent. One should not presume that whenever Nietzsche speaks of the great man and the like, he's talking about someone like oneself; that's only a beginner stage in Nietzschean self-education. A more advanced stage is where one actively tries to apply to oneself each and every negative thing Nietzsche says: where one soul- and body-searches oneself for any defect in the eyes of the Master. Natura artis magistra--and even if one is a "golden nature" (WP 940), one must still first become what one is; the spirit, that fluttering butterfly, must become a camel first. One must first overcome all with which one's time has infected one: this is the stage of the lion, where--after having outdone most everyone else at the quintessential virtue of one's time--one learns to experience that virtue as a weakness and hence to resist it.
Anyway, here's the addendum:
I have recently come to revise the idea that the grand style always spring from great men---though in a sense it still holds.
"*Erôs* arises [in the lover] in response to the gulf that separates the exemplary human being from all others, and it naturally aspires to bridge this gulf. While the self-overflowing emanations of the will establish and preserve the *pathos* of distance, *erôs* strives to eliminate or minimize the distance between lover and beloved. The excitation of *erôs* in turn fortifies the lover's will, enabling him to accept his beloved's unintended invitation to enter the "circle of culture." (Although Nietzsche ocassionally remarks favorably on heterosexual love, he typically favors male gender designations for both the lover(s) and the beloved.) As he explains in a remarkable note written in the spring of 1888, the excitation of *erôs* transfigures the lover, elevating him---if only temporarily---to the lofty station of his beloved:
> The lover becomes a squanderer ['Verschwender']: he is rich > enough for it. Now he dares, becomes an adventurer, becomes an > ass in magnanimity and innocence; he believes in God again, he > believes in virtue, because he believes in love; and on the > other hand, this happy idiot grows wings and new capabilities, > and even the door of art is opened to him. (WP 808)
Blinded by *erôs* to his beloved's indifference, "this happy idiot" mistakes his beloved's need to disgorge himself for an invitation to permanent union. He consequently "grows wings" and ventures to bridge the gulf that ordinarily separates them. In so doing he becomes, like his beloved, a squanderer, leaving comfort, conformity, and good sense behind." [Daniel Conway, 'Love's labor's lost' (essay).]
Also in said "remarkable note", Nietzsche says:
"[W]e should do wrong if we stopped with its [art's] power to lie: it does more than merely imagine; it even transposes values. And it is not only that it transposes the *feeling* of values: the lover *is* more valuable, is stronger. In animals this condition produces new weapons, pigments, colors, and forms; above all, new movements, new rhythms, new love calls and seductions. It is no different with man. His whole economy is richer than before, more powerful, more *complete* than in those who do not love."
A man whose *erôs* is aroused by a (seemingly) great man may therefore temporarily acquire greatness himself---and works in the grand style may spring from him.
Much to reflect on at this point. In fact, in browsing section 1 of Conway's essay, I'm reminded of my next Facebook post, ten days ago:
"Physician, heal thyself: then wilt thou also heal thy patient. Let it be his best cure to see with his eyes him who maketh himself whole." (Nietzsche, _Thus Spake Zarathustra_, "The Bestowing Virtue", Common translation.)
But I will now add another quote to that:
"As the function of the castrum or castellum is not merely to resist a siege, but to compel to Obedience of Law and Order every pagan within range of its riders, so also it is the Way of Chastity to do more than defend its purity against assault. For he is not wholly pure who is imperfect; and perfect is no man in himself without his fulfillment in all possibility." (Crowley, _Little Essays toward Truth_, "Chastity".)
My latest plan is to raise awareness of transhumanism, especially its abolitionist school. An example:
"Pearce maintains a series of websites devoted to [...] what he calls the 'hedonistic imperative', a moral obligation to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. [...] His book-length internet manifesto [...] outlines how pharmacology, genetic engineering, nanotechnology and neurosurgery could converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience from human and non-human life [...]. A vegan himself, he has argued in favour of a 'cross-species global analogue of the welfare state', suggesting that humanity might eventually 'reprogram predators' to limit predation, reducing the suffering of prey animals."
Actually, it is for the sake of a certain part of human nature that other parts of human nature are being conquered. In fact, it was also that part, and not the whole of human nature, for whose sake the conquest of non-human nature was promoted in the first place. It is what Nietzsche would call the human, all too human part or the herd animal part. In other words, the "humanist" part.
Now a humanism worthy of the name could of course not be concerned solely with a part of human nature, but would have to be concerned with the whole of human nature, including its beast of prey part. Any "humanism" that seeks to conquer part of human nature for the sake of another part is by that token already transhumanism. A humanism worthy of the name must be a superhumanism, in the Nietzschean sense: concerning itself with the full human being, including its terrifying and questionable aspects.
As the most explicit form of modernity, this hedonistic transhumanism is the perfect foil for the Nietzschean political-philosophical mechanism.
Posts : 1087 Join date : 2016-08-06 Location : Florida
Subject: Re: Wreaking crisis. Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:10 am
Before Sisyphus made his posts, I still half intended to respond, but after he posted, I decided to leave this thread alone.
Well, you have returned as strong as ever. I admire that.
My personal values are what dictate how I live my life and this includes what I consider music worth listening to.
Now granted, most of today's music (but not all) speaks to a life style I am not a part of. Therefore it is not speaking to me. But apparently it is speaking to the majority of younger people who are listening to it and buying it.
Our values determine whether or not we find inner peace and contentment. I am comfortable with my condition.