For St. George’s Day: Friedrich Nietzche

From the Geneaology of Morals:

The “well-born” simply felt themselves the “happy”; they did not have to manufacture their happiness artificially through looking at their enemies, or in cases to talk and lie themselves into happiness (as is the custom with all resentful men); and similarly, complete men as they were, exuberant with strength, and consequently necessarily energetic, they were too wise to dissociate happiness from action—activity becomes in their minds necessarily counted as happiness . . . —all in sharp contrast to the “happiness” of the weak and the oppressed, with their festering venom and malignity, among whom happiness appears essentially as a narcotic, a deadening, a quietude, a peace, a “Sabbath,” an enervation of the mind and relaxation of the limbs,—in short, a purely passive phenomenon.


W
hile the aristocratic man lived in confidence and openness with himself . . . , the resentful man, on the other hand, is neither sincere nor naive nor honest and candid with himself. His soul squints ; his mind loves hidden crannies, tortuous paths and back-doors, everything secret appeals to him as his world, his safety, his balm; he is past master in silence, in not forgetting, in waiting, in provisional self-depreciation and self-abasement.


A
race of such resentful men will of necessity eventually prove more prudent than any aristocratic race, it will honour prudence on quite a distinct scale, as, in fact, a paramount condition of existence, while prudence among aristocratic men is apt to be tinged with a delicate flavour of luxury and refinement; so among them it plays nothing like so integral a part as that complete certainty of function of the governing unconscious instincts, or as indeed a certain lack of prudence, such as a vehement and valiant charge, whether against danger or the enemy, or as those ecstatic bursts of rage, love, reverence, gratitude, by which at all times noble souls have recognised each other.


W
hen the resentment of the aristocratic man manifests itself, it fulfils and exhausts itself in an immediate reaction, and consequently instills no venom: on the other hand, it never manifests itself it all in countless instances, when in the case of he feeble and weak it would be inevitable. An inability to take seriously for any length of time their enemies, their disasters, their misdeeds—that is the sign of the full strong natures who possess a superfluity of moulding plastic force, that heals completely and produces forgetfulness: a good example of this in the modern world is Mirabeau, who had no memory for any insults and meannesses which were practised on him, and who was only incapable of forgiving because he forgot.


S
uch a man indeed shakes off with a shrug many a worm which would have buried itself in another; it is only in characters like these that we see the possibility (supposing, of course, that there is such a possibility in the world) of the real “love of one’s enemies.” What respect for his enemies is found, in truth, in an aristocratic man—and such a reverence is already a bridge to love! He insists on having his enemy to himself as his distinction. He tolerates no other enemy but a man in whose character there is nothing to despise and much to honour!


O
n the other hand, imagine the “enemy” as the resentful man conceives him—and it is here exactly that we see his work, his creativeness; he has conceived “the evil enemy,” the “evil one,” and indeed that is the root idea from which he now evolves as a contrasting and corresponding figure a “good one,” himself—his very self!

As you can see, Reeducation called me a “snob” because it found me to be an aristocrat in this Nietzchean sense. The “feeling” it found lacking in me was Nietzche’s festering venom and malignity, and the weak happiness it wanted to instill was a narcotic, a deadening, a quietude, a peace, a “Sabbath,” an enervation of the mind and relaxation of the limbs. We are talking about ressentiment.

My strike is over, but I do not promise to publish regularly until late August.

Axé.

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “For St. George’s Day: Friedrich Nietzche

  1. Notice also that the expression of naivety is attributed to the aristocratic mindset. Let us hope that is it not the faux naivety of a Palin.

    My genuine naivety was always considered a front for something else, when I was trying to get my foothold in a new culture — which shows how degraded and mentally plebian the new culture was/is.

    • Front for something else — that is exactly what Reeducation thought. It presupposed the duplicity which, according to Nietzche, if you don’t have you’re healthier but also get into more trouble from others.

      “Degraded and mentally plebian” — yes. And here it is I who am so easily convinced there is something wrong with *me* for not being that way, or for presenting a challenge to it, or whatever.

      • The difference between “aristocratic” and “democratic” (or plebian) in Nietzsche’s terms seems to correlate with an historical movement of authority from an external to an internal locus of control (one is expected, in these later terms, to inwardly discipline oneself so as to stay in line with the expectations of authorities in a way that anticipates the requirements of these authorities).

        So, yes, there is a lot more work involved in performing to the latter expectations — at least there seems to be, although perhaps if one is brought up with an overly sensitive and inwardly cringing sensibility, one probably accommodates oneself much better, and instinctively, to the present demands of authority.

        However, I have a certain robust insensitivity to the expectations of authority over me. I am quite capable of recognising and submitting to an external locus of control, if it seems appropriate for me to do so (such as within the system of martial arts and study), but I cannot discipline myself internally to live in fear of the authorities, night and day, and still somehow perform up to the level of my own expectations.

        I’ve tried this “adaptation” and I cannot seem to do it.

  2. also see a further clarification of the temporary and purposeful nature of regression in shamanism, on my blog.

  3. My genuine naivety was always considered a front for something else, when I was trying to get my foothold in a new culture — which shows how degraded and mentally plebian the new culture was/is.

    And it is still this — a quintessential kernel of difference in perspective — to which I cannot adapt, in Perth culture.

    I cannot, for instance, keep track of this mentally plebian deviousness in terms of keeping discipline in the classroom, as a teacher, because that kind of mentality is so far from my own that I can only conjure it up to focus upon with immense effort.

    The teacher is supposed to “see through” the merely apparent behaviour into the hidden motivation that lies behind it, which is always construed as negative. The sharpness of the teacher’s insight and calling to account is supposed to stop the student in their tracks. However, I don’t presume that all spontaneous and impulsive behaviour necessarily has a negative motivation behind it. I actually can’t see it. Hence I am not cut out to be a teacher in the present system.

  4. I dislike teaching for those reasons.

    Seeing through, calling to account, stopping in tracks: that was also what Reeducation was trying to do, I now see. It would attribute all sorts of dark motives to everything, and I could never figure out how it deduced them or why it had this penchant.

    • It does seem to be linked to repression. And repression, too, does seem to be linked to the hierarchical nature of society — especially so if one is not at the top of the society. That is why third world ppl are generally less repressed — there is often less of an efficiency in terms of the hierarchy and its dominance, in enforcing the inwards nature of control. At least the effectiveness of authority in this regard is uneven.

      Repression means that one’s real emotions and reactions do not get sufficient airing to remain healthy. These become like rubbish stored in the basement of the building and never emptied. Soon the rubbish starts to stink — thus the typical bourgeois injunction to beware incase one gets “too in touch” with one’s emotions.

      However, a whole person, who is not repressed, but airs their real feelings and ideas regularly, is not going to have the same horrors lurking in their basement as those who have simply learned how to repress.

      • Well this explains my friend, who I like but around whom I am sometimes uncomfortable due to her undercurrent of I do not know what.

        She studies me and expresses amazement that I have the perceptions and attitudes, and am aware of / willing to discuss the things I am. Now I realize what she is studying and being amazed by — the comparative degree of non repression.

      • This is why suggesting to other people, who one may have the best hopes for, that they simply make themselves free by ‘unrepressing’ may not lead to the best result.

        That which they ‘unrepress” will not be free and wholesome emotions flowing from the unconscious, but corpses, bitterness and ressentiment.

        And perhaps it is also the case that one of the greatest sources of ressentiment is from seeing that another person can simply flow forth in an unrepressed fashion, whereas those who are victims to repression can only do so by making things worse for themselves.

        Perhaps this is the insight that reeducation harped on about.

  5. The difference between “aristocratic” and “democratic”…

    There’s a lot to say about your comment above. I’m saving it for future posts, though, as these topics of authority, and what pops into my mind, the process of professionalization, are huge.

  6. “…That which they ‘unrepress’ will not be free and wholesome emotions flowing from the unconscious, but corpses, bitterness and ressentiment.”

    *****THAT was actually why, in Reeducation, I did not think it a good idea to harp on certain things which are over. Why let their residue take over the present? Because it may not be possible to resolve everything.*****

    “And perhaps it is also the case that one of the greatest sources of ressentiment is from seeing that another person can simply flow forth in an unrepressed fashion, whereas those who are victims to repression can only do so by making things worse for themselves.”

    *****That is true.*****

    “Perhaps this is the insight that reeducation harped on about.”

    *****OMG that probably IS true — the source of the very negative countertransference (besides the fact that I was challenging him to actually work, I think).*****

    ALSO — before I forget — I read somewhere a casual reference to “Christian universalism,” i.e. the idea that we infidel can be tolerated as primitives because we haven’t understood the good news yet, so we just don’t realize that we have the Christian character structure after all … and realized Christian universalism was a major problem in that it so naturalized that character structure, couldn’t believe there were other modes of being, and so on.

  7. The Christian notion that “fear [of the Lord] is the beginning of wisdom” is designed to keep those dangerous repressed feelings in check. However, this notion presupposes an existing barbarism of feeling, rather than civilisation, as Nietzsche points out in The Antichrist.

    When Christianity left its native soil, the lowest classes, the underworld of the ancient world, when it began to seek power among barbarian peoples, it was no longer confronted with weary men but with inwardly brutalized, cruel people—strong but bungled men. Here, dissatisfaction with oneself, suffering from oneself, are not due to an excessive sensitivity and susceptibility to pain, as among the Buddhists, but, on the contrary, to an overpowering desire to inflict pain and to find an outlet for inner tensions in hostile acts and ideas. Christianity needed barbaric concepts and values to become master over barbarians; for example, the sacrifice of the first-born, the drinking of blood in the Lord’s Supper, the contempt for the spirit and for culture, torture in all its forms, both sensuous and not sensuous, and the great pomp of the cult. Buddhism is a religion for late men, for gracious and gentle races who have become overspiritual and excessively susceptible to pain (—Europe is far from ripe for it—): it is a way of leading them back to peace and cheerfulness, to a diet for the spirit and a certain inuring of the body. Christianity would become master over beasts of prey: its method is to make them sick; enfeeblement is the Christian recipe for taming, for “civilizing.” Buddhism is a religion for the end and the weariness of civilization; Christianity finds no civilization as yet—under certain circumstances it might lay the foundation for one.

  8. “this notion presupposes an existing barbarism of feeling”

    Precisely, yes.

  9. The current Neechianisms on the web (although I haven’t checked them lately) also presuppose barbarism. I think most enthusiasts engage in a thoroughly Christianised reading of Nietzsche, for which shamanism is the potential cure.

  10. :-) Nietzcheans are usually Boys who want to get away with Stuff.

  11. Yes, but they are very, very earnest in their misreadings (or rather the reading of their own late bourgeois character-set into N’s writing), which is never a good sign.

  12. Boys who want to get away with Stuff are dangerous.

  13. I think they may be dangerous to themselves more than dangerous in that seductive sense that they would rather consider themselves to be.

  14. My X the infamous one actually believed himself to be a Nietzchean Superman.

    Meanwhile I have taken 2 FB quizzes whose results I do not wish to post there. One is about the meaning of the week in which I was born. Observe, it is funny and partly true:

    “You are an unusual individual, you may want to have fun, but are too serious to do so. You have highly developed faculties of intuition and sensation. You have mastered the art of silence and do not need speech to get your point across. You leave little doubt to how you are feeling. You do not expect to be liked by other people although you often are. You are independent and do not need the approval of others and that gives you a power and freedom that others lack. You only let a select few into your circle. You have a deep, passionate nature and highly sexual orientation that bind others to you magnetically. You have a great need to be alone. Strengths: Psychic – Inscrutable – Intense Weaknesses: Frustrated – Antisocial – Oppressive.”

  15. I remember about your Nietzschean superman. I think we should give all the little boys a chance to try out for superman. Let them go for it. But they vamp on me, they lose a limb. Fair’s fair.

    And stop being so antisocial and oppressive.

  16. I wouldn’t want to be unjust to them.

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