Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Thought 634: Vile Villain, Tragic Hero or Noble Fool?

"Well, I guess you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent as quoted from The Dark Knight (see also A Riddle from the Dark Knight)
In considering the French homonymies, that are by no means unrelated or accidental, between vil and villain(e), that is, between 'vile' an 'villain' which, at least in their French semantic intention, retain something of an aristocratic disdain for and looking down at the lower, less privileged, less high-minded and less beautiful orders of co-existing human beings, I was wondering how that might come to infuse the English meaning of those words in a newly creative way that reflects the urgency of contemporary Being. 

For is it not more and more the case today that, to keep a relatively good, free and heartfelt conscience (see Skull and Bones and Importance of the Heart), one that refuses to give in to the monstrous, conformist demands and machinations of capital and the (social and technological) horrors of the employed life-path (see, inter alia, The Meaning of CVCapital as Head and Enchanting Magic v Stupefying Sorcery), one needs to become a hero (or fool) determined to follow one's gut instinct of ergophobia, even as it dangerously goes against the grain and leads, as it did in my case, to temporary madness (see Stages and Contexts of My Thoughts) and a life at the margins of civilised life (on which see What is Decadence?)? 

In other words, once removed from the rat race and caught in the logic of repeated State-benefits claims as an almost inevitable result of an initial refusal to comply with the manipulations of those who control satanic currency, however heroic (or foolish) the down-going - via, let us make it abundantly clear, ill-suited, crappy jobs and a passage through the mad-house - that led to that outcome and however noble and creative the path trod as enabled by such claims, does one live long enough to see oneself become the villain, at least in the eyes of the State and the employed, tax-paying population who are not afforded the privilege of leisure that enables something like a ScruffyOwlet's Tree which, as far as I know, only a couple of souls actually read, and even then only with great irregularity and not a little bemusement?

Am I not much rather a vile villain, a parasitic form of existence making the most of enforced, tax-enabled redistribution (see The Problem of Taxation and Market Victory), leading an artistic and philosophical life that really only apparently satisfies my needs and desires, than the courageous, magnanimous knight of thinking I like to think I am (see Thinking Knights)? Have I not simply become a lazy, navel-gazing, layabout philosopher who likes to disappear up his 'superior arse', to employ a phrase used against me by a disabused Daily Mail reader?

As regards these matters, the question of whether I rate as a villain, a hero or a fool, as a vile economic parasite (in the sense of the monetary system - see my poem Welfare) shunning collective suffering or a fee-spirited, wealth-creating artist-philosopher (in the sense of one who brings-forth spiritual wealth) feeding those who are hungry for foods not uniquely aimed at bodily sustenance, or simply an over ponderous and pompous fool who is letting life pass him by by thinking too much - that is, to put it differently, the question of whether or not I have earned or am satisfactorily earning my keep in the form of my words and works as shared here on the inter-trap, I fully hand myself over to the judgment of my readers and audience, whomever they may be, and whatever the horizon-ing, i.e. delimitating, boundary (ὁρίζων) of their manner of evaluation and the kind and quality of their knowing sensibility (on which see Knowledge and Sensibility).

Monday, 28 May 2018

Thought 633: The Genea-logising of Morality

In my Fresh Look at Genealogy of MoralityI superficially applied the lens of the first essay, 'Good and Evil', 'Good and Bad', to the current political - or so-called - context (for a suggestion regarding a new, more originary meaning of 'politics' see number (6) of Six Ideas). 

More recently, I came to realise that the title of the German Streitschrift or 'outcry' has not been done full justice in its English translation as On The Genealogy of Morality or, worse, On The Genealogy of Morals (see number (2) of Seven Recreational Ideas).

For Nietzsche named the work Zur Genealogie der Moral, that is, Towards a Genealogy of Morality. While I am aware that the preposition 'zur' in an educated context can be interpreted as 'on' or as the French 'de' - e.g. De La Grammatologie, Of Grammatology - it seems to me that if Nietzsche - or that divine spirit or 'unknown god' which animated his intellectual life (see A Republic of Heaven or a Kingdom of Earth?) - wanted such an interpretation he would have named his writing (über) (die) Genealogie der Moral.

Let us also pay close attention to these words from the concluding section of the aforementioned first essay of the tract: 
"The two opposing values 'good and bad', 'good and evil' have fought a terrible battle for thousands of years on earth; and although the latter has been dominant for a long time, there is still no lack of places where the battle remains undecided [my italicisation]. You could even say that, in the meantime, it has reached ever greater heights but at the same time has become ever deeper and more intellectual: so that there is, today, perhaps no more distinguishing feature of the 'higher nature', the intellectual nature, than to be divided in this sense and really and truly a battle ground for these opposites."
In other words, the Genealogy of Morality is still to be fully decided, is still under way, such that, in this sense, the polemic was pointing towards such a genealogy taking place - now of all times, in the 'other commencement' of Occidental history -, a genealogy that is being decided today and every other day I, and others, write an article or blog post on polemical-moral-philosophical topics like Martin Heidegger, anti-semitism or capitalism (see also the comment someone left under my Amazon.fr review of Heidegger's Qu'Appelle-t-on penser ?, the translation into French of Was Heißt Denken?, and my reply to it, just as, ironically, I had pointed out in the review how the book dealt with the question of the way in which truth may manifest today, including on this very web page
"Il s'agit de savoir en quoi la vérité peut-t-elle se manifester dans l'ère de la technique moderne (y compris cette page Amazon.fr)."
[This genea-logising of morality between noble souls and the rabble, between magnanimity and revenge (on which see number (2) of Seven Recreational Ideas), between the higher, expansive self and the lower, vile self, may in fact be a if not the law of Being, determining most spiritual, intellectual and creative life across the globe, including that portion of it we may behold from the screen-ing window of our inter-trap-enabled computers. 

Heidegger's book Being and Time, written on the heels (and no doubt under the aegis) of Nietzsche's philosophy, could be seen as nothing less than the declaration of a masters' revolt against the democratisation of life and the triumph of the average man by way of the forces of decadence, a revolt I first explicitly brought to light in Lucifer, Light Bearer and one that perhaps characterises and qualifies the whole instinct behind ScruffyOwlet's Tree and the form-of-life it serves to justify (see my profile description at the bottom of the blog page).

In all these respects, and given the following words of Nietzsche's, still from the first essay of Zur Genealogie der Moral,
"one should ask who is actually evil in the sense of the morality of ressentiment. The stern reply is: precisely the 'good' person of the other morality, the noble, powerful, dominating one, but re-touched, re-interpreted and reviewed through the poisonous eye of ressentiment"
I find it more than a passing, negligible anecdote that when I ordered a second-hand copy of Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition, the previous owner of the book had scribbled devil horns and a Pan goaty beard on the author's face, the photograph of which is on the cover of the second edition of the book by The University of Chicago Press.

(The scribbling here is my own, courtesy of Google images and Mac Preview software, but accurately conveys the state in which I received the second-hand copy of the book.)

That said, the de-facing perhaps owed itself more to anti-semitism than anti-nobility per se, or perhaps even to a combination of both (see On The Virtue of Philo-Judaism), but I doubt much thought was given by the vandalising perpetrator as to the reasons why (s)he felt compelled to scribble over Hannah's face, save Arendt's extraordinarily superior spirit and intellectual gifts that can only incite envy and ressentiment among the little people, 'the rulers of today', who
"preach surrender and resignation and prudence and industry and consideration and the long etcetera of little virtues"
and constitute 
"the overman's greatest danger."
(last two citations taken from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, On The Higher Man.)]

Addendum - The word 'genealogy' comes, via Latin and then French, from the Ancient Greek γενεαλογία which, broken down, signifies the study (λογία) of descent, of generation (γενεά). 

Perhaps this study could (or should) include the descent through the generations of λόγος (the word, discourse) itself?

Indeed, suspecting as much, in the polemic under consideration, Nietzsche writes the following in parentheses
"(The seigneurial privilege of giving names even allows us to conceive of the origin of language itself as a manifestation of the power of the rulers: they say 'this is so and so', they set their seal on everything and every occurrence with a sound and thereby take possession of it, as it were)."
We can see, further down the line, how this may inform the genea-logising tendencies of ScruffyOwlet's Tree.

Is my definition of truth, the one that starts the whole 'thoughts' section of this blog site (see Thought 1: Lathoron, A Philosophical Dialogue), not
"that which makes meaning possible and is suggested by the possible meaning of a word"?
Did I not, in a later post (Thought 4: How to Become Master of the World), offer a new, contemporary possibility for being a sovereign, a lord, a master (ein Herr, in the proper sense of the word)?

Clearly, the link between word-origin and world-mastery seems to be a primordial one, such that it will necessarily inform the final outcome and shape of morality itself (see The Morality of Morality), one that will take place Beyond Good and Evil (as discussed in Apple, Satan & Nietzsche).

Addendum 2 - Regarding both What Calls for or What is Called Thinking?, the French review of which I mentioned in the main text above, and my own ethic of  thoughtful habit(u)ation (see How to Become Master of the World), careful consideration needs be given these words of Nietzsche's, written under the section What is Noble? of Beyond Good and Evil (number 257), which, after making explicit note of the far from humanitarian origins of a genuinely aristocratic society - one of 
"men whose nature was still natural, barbarians in every terrible sense of the word, predatory people who still possessed an unbroken strength of will and lust for power [who] threw themselves on weaker, more civilised, more peaceful races of tradesmen perhaps, or cattle breeders" -
 "The noble cast always started out as the barbarian cast. Their supremacy was in psychic [my italicisation], not physical strength, - they were more complete people (which at any level amounts to saying 'more complete beasts'-)."
For such a point is readdressed, albeit in different way, in Heidegger's aforementioned What is Called Thinking? - a lecture in which it is unequivocally stated that
"Most thought-provoking in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking" -
in terms of the expressed view that man as man, his essential nature, lies in that of 'beast' (see too number (5) of Truth: Six Aphorisms by Nietzsche).

Thinking and being a more complete person, which is to say, following the preceding remarks, more of a beastly, untamed (or uncivilised - see What is Decadence?) barbarian-noble type, are apparently, for these thinkers and myself, two sides of the same coin, and it is this very link the contemporary Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has conceptualised as form-of-life, i.e. that life-form in which no bare, naked life (ζωήmay be isolated from its actual manifested shape (βίος) by the biopolitical (or thanatopolitical) gestures of the modern Nation State and its de-humanising apparatuses of abandonment (see The Jew as Werewolf: A Fresh Look at An American Werewolf in London).  

All of which would explain the commonplace fear of abstract thought and anxiety before the concept - which usually expresses itself in terms of the impatient and captious prejudice of ressentiment - among the psychically more challenged specimen of humanity, a phenomenon Heidegger made note of at the end of August 1973, roughly three years before his death, in his preface to the fourth edition of Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, the penultimate paragraph of which reads
"The growing and unacknowledged anxiety in the face of thinking no longer allows insight into the forgetfulness of Being which determines the age."

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Thought 632: On The Virtue of Philo-Judaism

In contrast to the petty, unimaginative, hard-done-by resentment and hatred of the anti-semitic, more precisely termed anti-judaic, crowd, we free spirits of a new faith, the faith of ethical world mastery as guided and underpinned by the last god Iragmo (see also A Republic of Heaven or a Kingdom of Earth?), may find that much can be learned from and admired in the history of the Jewish people, precisely as the long-lived survivors against universal resistance (and persecution) they exemplify, even now after more than 3,000 years (see too Jewish Superman and The Jew as Werewolf) - not to mention the debt we owe them for that wonderful treasure-trove of esoteric wisdom that is the Jewish Kaballah (see Wisdom & Understanding and number (10) of Eighteen Ideas).

Let us also recall the words of character Daniel Balint (Ryan Gosling) from the film The Believer (directed by a Jew), the words of a Jew turned Neo-Nazi speaking at the launch of a new fascist political party, words whose Nazi spirit, I hasten to add, I do not endorse (see Amorality of Nature - Knowledge of Good and Evil), save as the exemplary example of paradoxical and ironic philosophy they give voice to:

"Who wants to destroy the Jews?

Who wants to grind their bones into the dust?

And who wants to see them rise again?

Wealthier, more successful, powerful, cultured, more intelligent than ever?

Then you know what we have to do?

We have to love 'em.

What? Did he say "Love the Jews"? It's strange, I know. 

But with these people, nothing is simple.

The Jew says all he wants is to be left alone to study his Torah, ...

..do a little business,...

...fornicate with his oversexed wife, but it's not true.

[...] He wants to be hated.

He longs for our scorn.

He clings to it, as if it were the very core of his being.

If Hitler had not existed, the Jews would've invented him.

For without such hatred, the so-called Chosen People would vanish from the earth.

And this reveals a terrible truth and the crux of our problem as Nazis.

The worse the Jews are treated, the stronger they become.

Egyptian slavery made them into a nation.

The pogroms hardened them. Auschwitz gave birth to the State of Israel.

Suffering, it seems, is the very crucible of their genius.

So, if the Jews are, as one of their own has said,...

..a people who will not take 'yes' as an answer,...

..let us say 'yes' to them.

They thrive on opposition. Let us cease to oppose them.

The only way to annihilate this people once and for all...

...is to open our arms, invite them into our homes...

...and embrace them.

Only then will they vanish into assimilation, normality and love.

But we cannot pretend. The Jew is nothing if not clever.

He will see through hypocrisy and condescension. 

To destroy him, we must love him sincerely." (my italicisation)

And was it not Nietzsche himself, the supposed Father of Fascism and Hitlerism all in one (see Nietzsche's Position on Morality in Six Paragraphs), who wrote in Beyond Good and Evil that a species, which for our purposes we may regard as meaning a people (see Words & Peoples and Lucifer, Light-Bearer), 
"originates [and] grows sturdy and strong in the long struggle with essentially unfavourable conditions" 
and that 
"the Jews - a people 'born for slavery' as Tacitus and the entire ancient world say, 'the people chosen of all peoples' as they themselves say and think - have achieved that miraculous thing, an inversion of values, thanks to which life on earth has had a new and dangerous charm for several millennia"? (my italics)

Friday, 25 May 2018

Thought 631: Enchanting Magic v Stupefying Sorcery

"The spell that fights on our behalf, the eye of Venus that charms and blinds even our opponents, is the magic of the extreme." - Nietzsche, The Will to Power, number 749
"The magic of the extreme fights on behalf of the most powerful. Magic transports us to another world with its enchantment and there brings the enchanted ones to themselves in a different way. Enchantment is not stupefaction." - Heidegger, Nietzsche

What is magic?

According to de-occultist Mark Passio of whatonearthishappening, magic is
"the art and science to influence change to occur in accordance with the Will"
which he contrasts with sorcery as the 
"the art and science to influence change to occur in accordance with the will."
Magic aims at the advancement of (higher) Will, of the demands of Being (on which see addendum 2 to Reading the Self) as Natural Law, the charms of Venus in Nietzsche's phrasing, Venus being the Roman goddess of (sexual) love (see too The Chakras and The Planets).

That is to say, magic brings with it the enchantment of Love understood as
"The force that expands consciousness."
Magic, in other words, serves the love and enchantment of and for Being that wants to bring us to higher states of awareness, to greater levels of understanding, to enhanced possibilities of creative ἔρως, all of which are opposed to and counteract the civilising, culture-destroying drives and pressures of decadence

Its methods are thoughtful words, art works (see Artistic Statement) and the exemplary tensions of poetic existence, i.e. an existence that strides the line between the impersonal demands of genius (see the addendum to The Mulholland Drive Cowboy Scene) and the negotiating requirements of co-existence (see The Meaning of Negotiation). 

Sorcery, by contrast, aims at the power advancement of selfish, egoic will (see point (1) of Two Ideas), i.e. the satisfaction of urges aiming at immediate, petty advantage, such as an increase in control over others (see, inter alia, the addendum to Capitalism v Conspiracy and the last paragraph of The Intellectual and The Thinker) or the service of ruthless, hierarchical and survivalist exigencies in the uprooted, technological, corporate, financial and sociological (popularity) contests of one-upmanship that pre-occupy beings who are proud not to think and therefore may not count as ethical (see Market Victory, The Cult of Capitalism, Heidegger's Oedipal Anti-Americanism and on what 'ethical' means, see the first nota bene of How to Become Master of the World). 

In contrast to the enchanting virtues of love's magic, sorcery brings with it the stupefying vices of fear defined as
"The force that shuts consciousness down."
Sorcery or, in Heidegger's terminology, machination, is symptomatic of Being's withdrawal, of the triumphant will-to-power of creatures left to their own contrivances and con-trap-tions and to the shallow and perverse quality of their empty souls, of the degradation and uglification of existence that comes from the conduct of those who blink rather than think (for more on 'blinking' see What is Decadence?) and whose habits are contained in the world but themselves contain no world, of (wo)men who, in their, vengeful, calculating thoughtlessness, are not yet fully (wo)men (see How to Become Master of the World and, for the vice of vengeful calculation, see Thinking Knights).

We of today know its methods all too well: entertainment, propaganda, advertising, marketing, slogans, glitz and glimmer, bullying, denigration, stigmatisation, labelling, all of which stupefy the human animal, i.e. make it stupid, weak and evil (see too Consequences of Worldview and The Nasty Fare Better). 

The enchantment of Being is perhaps reserved to those souls who, along with Zarathustra
"want to become human again"
and therefore are willing to start their own heroic journey of thoughtful down-going (see point (1) of Two Ideas).

Addendum - It is interesting to note that the business of contemporary piano-composer David Hicken, whose example, works and pedagogical flair have worked wonders for my own pianistic efforts, is called Enchanting Music

For what he offers is not the stupefaction of the hook-based, beat-heavy, effects-driven electronics of latter-day pop songs and the clingy sentimentalism as well as materialistic hedonism of their messaging, nor the blunt but ultimately short-lived directness of the loud guitar riffs of rock music (see The Devil's Music), but the aristocratic enchantment of that which is well-formed, thought-out and durable because it has been carefully elaborated by way of a profound knowledge of the rhythm and quantum of the musical art

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Thought 630: Thoughts as Butterflies

"[It] seems butterflies and soap bubbles and whatever is of their kind among human beings know most about happiness.
To see these light, foolish, delicate, sensitive little souls fluttering - that seduces Zarathustra to tears and songs." - Thus Spoke Zarathustra, On Reading and Writing
Fellow thinkers (and artists) of a 'light, foolish, delicate, sensitive' disposition might understand me when I say that seizing the dainty, colourful, elusive creatures that are thoughts (and ideas) and giving them word (and work) requires a certain nimble deftness, the wings of an as-yet-unbroken or even of a fully-healed spirit, the desire to both fly a kite and be the kite that's being flown
"up to the highest height
up where the air is clear." 
(see Mystery Followed by Liberation: The Flying Kite in Mary Poppins and my piano cover of Let's Go Fly a Kite.)

For it takes the wings of laughter's courage and the push that comes from the fact that
"courage wants to laugh" 
to defy and kill
"the [earnest, thorough, deep, somber] spirit of gravity - through [whom] all things fall." 

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Thought 629: The Intellectual and The Thinker

As can be made to follow from my thought What is Intelligence? and more forcefully from the addendum to Definitions of Consciousness, an intellectual - a term that unfortunately still retains overwhelming resonances of pejorative dismissal and envious suspicion because of its prevalent use by the anti-intellectual, scribbling rabble, to the extent that Hannah Arendt preferred the more magnanimous, i.e. less degrading (see point (2) of Seven Recreational Ideas), formulation of men of letters or hommes de lettres - is someone who aims to understand, i.e to stand under, reality as it shows itself phenomeno-logically (phenomenon coming from the Greek verb φαίνω, to bring to light), which involves the acquired ability to read between the lines, to discern or distinguish (κρίνω - see Reviewing My Reviews), which is the etymological meaning of intelligising, formed as it is of the Latin prefix inter, 'between', and the verb lego, 'to read' or 'gather unto oneself' - which intends something similar though not identical to 'spotting patterns in information', which is Mark Passio's preferred definition of consciousness.

Thus, in so far as scholars, researchers, scientists, commentators seek to understand phenomena, usually on the basis of truth understood as adaequatio intellectus et rei, the correspondence of mindful content (Descartes' cogito) to the thing-that-is-extant (Descartes' res extensa), of the word to the fact, of the predicate to the subject, of the signifier to the signified [rather than on the basis of truth understood as that which makes meaning possible at all - see Lathoron, A Philosophical Dialogue], whether historical, physical-natural (φύσις), psychological, sociological or artistic, they too may rate as intellectuals.

However, while all authentic thinkers are intellectuals in so far as they attempt to grasp, i.e. stand under, the truth of Being and give word to it, not all intellectuals are thinkers, since these latter do more than the mere reading-between-the-lines of intellectualising activity aiming at comprehension but actively and creatively give commands, to themselves first of all as their first servants (see point (2) of Four Ideas and addendum 2 of Reading the Self), and to others in so far as these others adopt those commands for themselves in their desire to become their own masters and servants in the footsteps and projected shadow (see Dark Truth) of the example provided by those who come before - such as, in my case, that of a Nietzsche and Heidegger - for
"every great thinker always thinks one jump more originally than he directly speaks." - Heidegger, Nietzsche
(see too The Question Concerning Authority and Leaders and Followers).

[Let us also recall these words of Zarathustra, uttered in his speech On Self-Overcoming, according to which
"one who cannot obey himself is commanded. Such is the nature of the living"
"commanding is harder than obeying. And not only that the commander bears the burden of all obeyers, and that this burden easily crushes him: - 
In all commanding it seemed to me there is an experiment and a risk; and always when it commands, the living risks itself in doing so.  
Indeed, even when it commands itself, even then it must pay for its commanding. It must become the judge and avenger and victim of its own law." (my italicisation)]
In other words, thinking, understood in the Greek sense of νομίζειν, to hold as a custom or νομός (see Rank Ordering and Words & Peoples) through one's creative love of wisdom (ϕιλό-σοφος), is to become a law-giver for the sake of a historical people, with the emphasis on the word giver, since there is never any question in the absolute and absolving freedom of the creative one (see point (3) of Four Ideas) to impose, coerce or even merely nudge others to a particular way-of-thinking and form-of-life, all of which are violations of the voluntary, non coercive aspect of Natural Law (Being), which recognises that the only syntropic (i.e. order-bringing) and legitimate form of control among able-minded adults is self-control (see Controlling Others), and that the desire to control the thoughts, emotions and actions of others not only leads to more entropy and involution (see Diversity as Natural Law Principle), but is usually symptomatic of a lack of philosophical selfhood whose freedom lies in letting-be - such as in the form of Heidegger's thought of mindful releasement (Gelassenheit) - as opposed to making-do - such as in the form of the rabble's 'nudge', 'leverage' and 'game' theories (for some considerations on the distinction between thought and theory, see the very last addendum to Thinking Knights).

Monday, 21 May 2018

Thought 628: What is Decadence?

"Under the holiest names I pulled up destructive tendencies; one has called God what weakens, teaches weakness, infects with weakness. - I found that the 'good man' is one of the forms in which decadence affirms itself. [...]
The race is corrupted - not by its vices but by its ignorance; it is corrupted because it did not recognise exhaustion as exhaustion: mistakes about physiological states are the source of all ills. [...]
Problem: How did the exhausted come to make the laws about values? Put differently: How did those come to power who are the last?" 
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, no.54 
"[History] contains the gruesome fact that the exhausted have always been mistaken for the fullest - and the fullest for the most harmful.
Those poor in life, the weak, impoverish life; those rich in life, the strong, enrich it. The first are parasites of life; the second give presents to it. - How is it possible to confound these two? [...]
When the exhausted appeared with the gesture of the highest activity and energy (when degeneration effected an excess of spiritual and nervous discharge), they were mistaken for the rich. They excited fear. - The cult of the fool is always the cult of those rich in life, the powerful." 
 - The Will to Power, no.48
"Decadence itself is nothing to be fought: it is absolutely necessary and belongs to every age and every people. What should be fought vigorously is the contagion of the healthy parts of the organism.
Is this being done? The opposite is done. Precisely that is attempted in the name of humanity."
 - The Will to Power, no.41 
Prayer for the Incurable
Hurry, hesitant Time, and bring them up against nonsense,
Else you'll warn them in vain what their good sense is about.
Hurry, denature them wholly, up against frightful non-being
Bring them, or never they'll know just how denatured they are.
Never these fools will reform until they begin to feel giddy,
Never [recover their health] save in the stench of decay." 

- Friedrich Hölderlin 

What is decadence from a thoughtful point of view (see The Warfare of Standpoints), i.e. one that is not scientistic, biologistic, psychologistic, capitalistic, darwinist, eugenicist, racist, economic, fascist and least of all moralistic?

After years of mindful apprehension as the misfit thinker that I am (see The Superficiality of Normality and Stages and Contexts of My Thoughts), I would philosophically define and delimit decadence as those modes of world habit(u)ation (see How to Become Master of the World) whose in-formative nurture (see Natured Nurture and Nurtured Nature) teach, encourage, foster, propagate, enforce, disseminate, advertiseenact habits, beliefs, thought-patterns, language-games, instincts, institutions, artistries, art-forms, technologies, educations, constructions, philosophies, moralities, ideologies, politics, power organisations, informations, foods, systems and economies of physical and spiritual discipline and exertion that diminish, exhaust, depletemis-form, stupefy, distract, level out, equalise, depress, poison, dumb down, harm the human animal (see Energy as Self-Therapy), and serve to render him tame and controllable, submissive and conformist, thoughtless and resentful, fearful and cowardly.

From that perspective, state-led market-driven corporate capitalism, in so far as it aims at and achieves the taming, mediocritisation and domesticating of (wo)man-kind as a job-holding ('working'), tax-paying, consuming mass enslaved to a monetary system that is a system-condition of social and technological existence - which itself conditions and shapes earthly human habitation (see Capital as Head, The Cult of Capitalism, Apple, Satan & Nietzsche) -, that is, in so far as it represents the victory of civilisation over culture (see The Great Noontide), of enslavement over freedom (see The Opposite of Freedom), of the herd instinct over "the desires that create clefts", of cowardly revenge over bold magnanimity (on which see Thinking Knights and point 2 of Seven Recreational Ideas), of entertaining distraction over thoughtful realisation, of mendacious lies over honest truths, is thoroughly decadent, a symptom of life on the wane, of the decay that necessarily follows from the rejection of aristocratic valuations aiming at the advancement of the type (wo)man (see Men as Mutants) over the democratic preservation of the community, of the decline that comes with the victory of the kingdom of the poor-in-spirit (the USA) over that of the rich-in-spirit (Ancient Greece) - let us not be deceived as to this fact by the glimmering glitz [i.e. the "blinking" of the last men, 
"'blink' [coming] from the Middle English blenchen, which means deceive, and to blenkenblinken, which means gleam or glitter [with the effect that] to blink [means] to play up and set up a glittering deception which is then agreed upon as true and valid - with the mutual tacit understanding not to question the setup [...], a setup with whose help man carries on and degrades everything." - see What is Called Thinking? by Martin Heidegger]
of contemporary trades, technologies and spectacular entertainments nor by the shallow, empty talk of 'excellence' and 'innovation' by institutions of various denominations, whose technological and pseudo-democratic biases of accessibility impede rather than facilitate authentic ethical world mastery as delineated in How to Become Master of the World

Power movements (see point (1) of Two Ideas) that pretend to fight the growing wasteland of decaying devastation but really exacerbate it, such as Nazism, Bolshevism, Libertarianism, Anarchism, Neoliberalism, Satanism and others fail from the start to stem the tide of decadence since none of these worldviews actually bother grappling with the enigma that is (wo)man and the conditions under and means by which (s)he may be brought to new elevated heights that take into account the lessons learned after millennia of recorded human history and apply the virtue of thoughtful habituation, of an ethic based on the mindful, i.e. careful and caring, habitation of the earth that is no longer at the mercy of or beholden to technological calculation, market capitalisation (see Market Victory) and social conformity but rather uses these enslaving forces as a source and fuel for an increase in ab-solved liberatedness, i.e. the absoluteness of the philosophical way of life (see point 4 of Four Ideas).

Indeed, taking Thus Spoke Zarathustra a notch further, not content with the dangerous thrills of tightrope walking and unruly exaltations of Dionysian dancing, we need to learn to become Dionysiac tightrope-dancers!

[Or, more prosaically speaking, actively and willingly seek out those alternative, exalted, open-hearted, cautiously radical states of mindful existence in which 
"bourgeois morality no longer has any say"
because it forbids them (see too Nietzsche's Fiery Zarathustra and Tolkien's Hobbling Hobbits).]

Addendum - The deadly antagonism between civilisation and culture, between the drive to tame, pacify and control man and the opposing poetic attempts at cultivating spiritual wealth, that is, the conflict between money and mon-eye, between ποίησις as artistic, thoughtful bringing-forth and τέχνη as calculating, logistical planning (see point (2) of Six Ideas), was suggested by number 121 of The Will to Power which reads
"[...] The great moments of culture were always, morally speaking, times of corruption; and conversely, the periods when the taming of the human animal ("civilisation") was desired and enforced were times of intolerance against the boldest and most spiritual natures." (my italics)
The contemporary hatred of and resistance towards original thinkers, i.e. creative law-givers who have proximity to the origin (on thinking as law-giving see Rank Ordering and Words & Peoples), such as, indeed, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger (see Heidegger & Arendt Controversies, Heidegger's Silence, The Continuing Story of Cassandra) and higher types generally (among which I would include the likes of a Mark Passio and a James Corbett, all too easily dismissed as 'conspiracy theorists'), has far more to do with a civilised and civilising, i.e. tamed and taming, fear of and discomfort with aristocratic superiority than the pseudo political and moral explanations and narratives offered by those parasites of the spirit that make a name for themselves and a living from attacking the greats (such as the priestly, reactionary, pseudo-scholarly, moralising scribbler Emmanuel Faye of France whose only claim to fame or, rather, infamy, is his tracts posthumously attacking the memory of Heidegger and now too Arendt!).

[Indeed what more of a confirmation of number 77 of The Will to Power when Nietzsche presciently wrote that
"Nothing has nauseated me more than parasites of the spirit [who] live off the fact that other people have spirit and squander it: they know that it is of the very essence of the rich spirit to squander itself carelessly, without petty caution, from day to day. - For the spirit is a bad householder and pays no heed to how everybody lives and feeds on it",
a fate which of course was also to be his and his most of all since, sub specie Zarathustrae, 
"whoever is of the highest species nourishes the most parasites."
In fact, this is far from being a novel phenomenon, such as when we consider the biographical fates of philosophers like Spinoza or of scientific reformers like Galileo, or these words of continued and continuing relevance by Hannah Arendt, herself no stranger, in her life and posthumously, to public vilification and character assassination, written in the opening paragraph of the chapter on 'Labor' of The Human Conditionfirst published in 1958, where she states that
"In the following chapter, Karl Marx will be criticised. This is unfortunate at a time when so many writers who once made their living by explicit or tacit borrowing from the great wealth of Marxian ideas and insights have decided to become professional anti-Marxists, in the process of which one of them discovered that Karl Marx himself was unable to make a living, forgetting for the moment the generations of authors whom he has 'supported.' In this difficulty, I may recall a statement Benjamin Constant made when he felt compelled to attack Rousseau
'J'éviterai certes de me joindre aux détracteurs d'un grand homme. Quand le hasard fait qu'en apparence je me rencontre avec eux sur un seul point, je suis en défiance de moi-même ; et pour me consoler de paraître un instant de leur avis. . . j'ai besoin the désavouer et de flétrir, autant qu'il est en moi, ces prétendus auxiliaires.' ('Certainly, I shall avoid the company of detractors of a great man. If I happen to agree with them on a single point I grow suspicious of myself; and in order to console myself for having seemed to be of their opinion. . . I feel I must disavow and keep these false friends away from me as much as I can.')"
But perhaps the most memorable formulation of this phenomenon is that of Zarathustra in his sermon On The Way of the Creator where he states
"Injustice and filth they throw at the lonely one. But my brother, if you want to be a star then you must shine through for them all the more!
And beware of the good and just! They like to crucify those who invent their own virtue - they hate the lonely one"
, even more emphatically phrased in On Old and New Tablets where the prophet informs us that
"The good must crucify the one who invents his own virtue! This is the truth!"
such that 
"they sacrifice the future to themselves - they sacrifice all future humanity!"
which leads the prophet to conclude that
"the good - they were always the beginning of the end."]

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Thought 627: Misfortune & Blame

"Moral value judgements are ways of passing sentence, negations; morality is a way of turning one's back on the will to existence." - Nietzsche, The Will to Power, no.11
"At this point nihilism is reached: all that one has left are the values that pass judgement - nothing else." - Nietzsche, The Will to Power, no.37 
It has become clear to me in discussion with friends over many years that, at least in coarser, less privileged, less refined circles, among which I would include most of the middle-classes as well as the pseudo upper-classes - basically all those strata of contemporary existence that are unfamiliar with thoughtful, mindful habit(u)ation (see How to Become Master of the World) - there is an instinctive, reflex-ive and - more or less wittingly - sadistic tendency (see Ideology and Cruelty) to pass judgement, i.e. to blame, those who are undergoing difficulties and misfortune, precisely as and when these arise and are at their strongest apex, both in political terms, such as when it comes to the question of refugee intake and that practice of bank welfare known as austerity that hits hardest the hardest hit by economic downturns (see Daily Mail Readers), but also in more im-mediate personal-social life.

So, for example, a piece of bad news as to one's health or one's finances, such as being told one has cancer, or learning about an unexpected, unpropitious pregnancy, or undergoing sudden and painful bereavement, or experiencing a loss of monetary income, a loss of status, a fit of folly, alienation or ill-judgement leading to further suffering, or even having been victimised by human predators, both far from and close to home, and all such sadly common realities are regularly and at times even systematically followed by judgemental reprobation, giving the impression that the person who is put-upon by others and circumstance is to blame for his or her problems and the suffering they cause him or her, a blame which many poor souls internalise leading them to self-bullying, self-loathing and the long-term, devastating effects of socially-engendered emotional trauma. 

It seems that blaming people for their misfortunes, often under the guise of capitalist 'positive thinking' dogma and other widespread puritanical and totalitarian self-improvement doctrines, comes easier and requires much less introspective labour on the self than a sympathetic gesture, one that empathises and looks at the big, tragicomic picture of the human condition (on sympathy and empathy see note (5) of A Brief Anatomy of Perception), and that it is precisely the level of willingness to engage in and practice such introspective, self-questioning labour that distinguishes thoughtful from opinionated types and philosophy from conformity (see Thinking v Opining, The Superficiality of NormalityShallow Conformist Values and the Psychopathic Virus, Conformity & Pathology).

As Nietzsche says in the afore-quoted passage 37 from the posthumous collection of notes named The Will to Power, the moment all that is left in human spiritual co-existence is the moralising and moralistic sentencing, i.e. blaming, of the thoughts, emotions and actions of others (see Reading the Self), the meaninglessness nothing that is nihilism, the complete repudiation of life as it has been handed to us, is reached, i.e. fulfilled, with the consequence that
"1. The weak perish of it; 2. Those who are stronger destroy what does not perish; 3. Those who are strongest overcome the values that pass judgement."
(on the word 'perish' in Nietzsche's thought see Idle Note On Zarathustra).

Regarding point 3, post-Nietzschean attempts at philosophically overcoming the hangman metaphysics (and legalistics) of 'moral' responsibility, which is to say accountability (see Responding and Reacting - Responsibility) to the will to punish, have been offered by the likes of Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt in the twentieth century and more recently by the jurist-turned-thinker Giorgio Agamben, particularly in his short treatise on action, guilt and gesture named Karman

Let us also recall Zarathustra's warning to
"mistrust all in whom the drive to punish is strong. Those are people of bad kind and kin; in their faces the hangman and the bloodhound are visible"
"'Punishment' [is] what revenge calls itself: with a lying word it counterfeits a good conscience." (my italics).
And we know, particularly since Heidegger's clarifications in his lecture What is Called Thinking?  and his essay Who is Nietzsche's Zarathustra (collected in this volume), that
"that mankind be redeemed from revenge",
which is 
"the will's revulsion against time and its 'it was'",
was for the thinker of eternal recurrence 
"the bridge to the highest hope and a rainbow after long thunderstorms."

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Review 12: Reviewing My Reviews

I would like to take the opportunity of a belated blog post to express how embarrassed I am at the superficial and misguided quality of the reviews collected in my reviews section, with notable offenders being the ones pertaining to Walter Benjamin as well as Martin Heidegger's Basic Writings collection, written as they were at the height of my preoccupation with the US-led 'truth' movement and its conspiratorial lenses on world affairs. 

I will leave this section of my blog site extant as a record of my thought-path's development but let it be said unequivocally that I repudiate all my reviewing attempts (including those not included on ScruffyOwlet's Tree, such as on Amazon.co.uk) as second rate chatter at best, as mendacious and wrong-headed evaluation at worst, however unwittingly so.

The only consolation I can muster for myself about this blog section - unlike the many weaker thoughts posts dating from the years 2014 to late 2017 - is that the 11 reviews published in the section (excluding the present one) can be numero-logically linked up to card 11 of the Tarot deck, the card of Strength or Justice, whose reverse meaning is fittingly lack of balance and injustice, which seems to be the fate of not only my reviewing attempts, but the majority of published reviews online and in the press. 

But this might have to do with the fact that reviewing as such - at least in the practiced, dominant sense - often errs on the side of evaluative judgement which, while just as much based on sensibility as creative criticism, prefers to applaud or put down over the effort required by critique in the Greek sense of κρίνειν, to thoughtfully distinguish, separate, decide by means of an acquired ability at discernment