Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Beyond Good and Evil" the beginnign of an essay

Daniel Christopher June to the students of life:


I just picked up Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil” one of my everreads, which I will analyze all my life, along with the essays of Emerson, the poems of Whitman, and the philosophy of William James. I have found a plan for the work, some metaphors by which to approach this book and consider its relation to itself, to all Nietzsche’s work, and to world history. The book can be read esoterically – and this essay hints how.

Take care, Caretakers!


Beyond Good and Evil


            Beyond Good and Evil is Nietzsche’s most historically important work. His Zarathustra was merely a sign language to the ideas first solidified in here, and the Genealogy was merely an extension of the ideas first codified here: and yet each of these three branches diverge from one point on one question…

            What is the place beyond good and evil? Considering the philosophical technology of trinities, and especially the trinity between Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, Nietzsche is making a perspectival point. This book, amidst its many topics and discussions, in only an esoteric manual on how to interpret. Goodness (the notions of good and evil) he gets beyond, “Truth” he gets beyond, for the apex of the pyramid is Beauty, that point of view from the mountain top, Zarathustra contemplating his brother the Sun, as Strauss set to music. The viewpoint of the sun, that is where Beyond Good and Evil, Zarathustra, and Genealogy of Morals share a crux.

            Will to Power is a mode of interpreting: beyond Good and Evil and beyond Truth is the point from which he will interpret all else: in terms of power – what power? The power to be and make beauty.

The preface of Beyond Good and Evil addresses Truth as a woman unimpressed with philosophical dogmatism. Is dogma repudiated? Rather, the dogma, as codified best by Plato (and in a vernacular voice, by Christianity), pulled the bow of Europe taut. The tension he by no means repudiates: he sees its use, the ability to fire upon the farthest goals. Who wishes to release the tensions? Two groups have tried: Jesuitism (Catholicism), and democratic enlightenment. These two represent the lower points of the pyramid: Catholicism which holds truth like a dogma, and democratic enlightenment which makes morality the opposite of power. The will to power does not deny these tradition and answers their power and place: he sees them not exoterically, from below, but esoterically, from above: how do they fit in? What use can they serve to the Creator? And who is on the third point, beyond good and evil, beyond truth? “We who are neither Jesuits nor democrats, nor even German enough, we good Europeans and free, very free spirits – we still feel it, the whole need of the spirit and the whole tension of the bow. And perhaps also the arrow, the task, and – who knows? – the goal ----“

            The first books – “On the Prejudices of Philosophers” “The Free Spirit” and “What is Religious” – disarm the problem of truth, the “epigrams and Interludes” fires a round of arrows to clear the ground, the second set of books – “Natural History of Morals” “We Scholars” “Our Virtues” – disarm the problem of Goodness, and the final two books – “Peoples and Fatherlands,” and “What is Noble” – take us to the heights, the powerful place of one who sees and makes beauty, the place beyond Good and Evil.


            To create a new thing – all of Nietzsche’s ideas are modes of one single idea – Nietzsche had to break tables, had to break the tables of letters and laws and values of other forms. This is the central image of Zarathustra, which must be taken as the central branch of the Nietzsche’s world tree, though everything expressed their was expressed in a different way here. Zarathustra created a type, Zarathustra as type: the fruits of this branch would be his Ecce Homo, where he takes himself as type, and Nietzsche contra Wagner, which did the same. Genealogy of Morals brought the fruit of the Antichrist, the work which excoriated the notion of good and evil, Twilight of the Idols grew from the Branch of Beyond Good and Evil, addressing especially the problem of truth and morality.

            After identifying honest as “our virtue from which we cannot get away, we free spirits—well, let us work on it with all our malice and love and not weary of “perfecting” ourselves in our virtue, the only one let us.” Such is necessary for the will to power, to be bold like Thucydides and not cowardly like Plato, to see reality for what it is, to see it from every angle and every perspective. In this virtue, truth and goodness are not negative, they are merely looked down from a height, they are seen esoterically, not exoterically.

            The Translator Kaufmann, needed, perhaps, to justify the ways of Nietzsche to man, after the Nazis, seems to write his translations against the Nazis, with footnotes to every reference to the Jews, with quotations from all his other books on the topic. Nevertheless, Kaufmann, because he was a professor and hence a fool, jumps on the moral bandwagon of cultural dogma that claims Nazism to be one thing and only one thing, and that thing completely and utterly wrong. That may be a Jewish interpretation, that may be an American interpretation, but it is not the Nietzschean interpretation of will to power, which is far to subtle for such categorical stupidity. To see problems as a physician does, to see it from the height, is not to dismiss complex things as if they were simple.

            It would seem in such a section as “Peoples and Fatherlands,” that no Nazi interpretation of Nietzsche is possible. However, one must beware of his criticisms of the Germans or his praise of the Jews: Nietzsche is anything but simple minded: he is more sublet than his interpreters, his truths have not yet been plumbed.

            This section begins with a high praise of Germany via the music of Wagner: manifold, formless, inexhaustible. Germany is profound. Unlike the Jews, Germany is not a strong race, for it is not one race – this is the deepest irony and strongest paradox in all of Nietzsche. The problem between decadence and the grand style, the ultimate question in all of Nietzsche – this is an aesthetic question, after all, the most important question that we can ask. The next section, section 241, mocks the previous section by saying that petty nationalism is a stage, something to get past, something to resort to in old age, but we must think globally, or in Nietzsche’s language, we must be “Good Europeans.” Germany was exactly this by being the soul of Europe through the music of Mozart and Beethoven. Because the Germans were so manifold, they could be the soul of Europe.

            Democracy isn’t fully repudiated, and his repudiations are subtle. Democracy, which levels mankind, yet breeds tyrants. The democratic citizen is by nature a slave who calls himself free. This was and is European history the last three hundred years – the “leveling and mediocritization of man – to a useful, industrious, handy, multi-purpose herd animal – are likely in the highest degree to give birth to exceptional human beings of the most dangerous and attractive quality.” He speaks of the tense bow.

            Sections 244 – 249 address Germany, which he citizens, and in other places seems to hate, but only because, really, Germany is the model for globalism. Note that the section on Germany does not end at 250, which discusses the Jews, but continues till 252, which discusses the English (in condemnation), and then the French (in praise).  It is not the Jews, but the anti-Semites, who are most dangerous to Europe, he says, the anti-Semites who should be removed, and the Jews should be allowed to do what they want to do “be absorbed and assimilated by Europe, for they long to be fixed, permitted, respected somewhere at long last, putting an end to the nomad’s life…should be noted well and accommodated: to that end it might be useful and fair to expel the anti-Semitic screamers from the country.” That this didn’t happen did cause a Ragnorak for Germany, created the state of Israel, and ended the Jewish blessing over Europe. Only in America were the Jews “absorbed and assimilated” (this does not mean made nonJewish), and so America, which he doesn’t bother to mention in this section or much anywhere, becomes the place of “Good Europeans” the integrated people which he dreamed for Europe. That Europe can still aim for such a synthesis is upon her now.

            The Germans were and are the type in Europe for this synthesis, because the “German soul is above all manifold, of diverse origins, more put together and superimposed than actually built….As a people of the most monstrous mixture and medley of races, perhaps even with a preponderance of the pre-Aryan element, as “people of the middle” in every sense, the Germans are more incomprehensible, comprehensive, contradictory, unknown, incalculable, surprising, even frightening than other people are to themselves: they elude definition and would be on that account alone the despair of the French…The German soul has its passageways and inter-passageways; there are caves, hideouts, and dungeons in it; its disorder has a good deal of attraction to the mysterious; the German is an expert on secret pathos to chaos.” The danger of Germany, as he sees it, would be for it to “descend to mere fatherlandishness.” He of course criticizes all of this in section 246 via a critique of German styles of reading and writing – but of course Nietzsche is the unification and apotheosis of the German style: what he does here is everything.

            The English and French are then mentioned, who, if mixed together, come off almost German, but are used as examples of what to avoid (the English) and what to emulate (the French). After that, he returns to his purpose of this section in 255 and 256, beginning with a note on German music, the soul of Europe: Europe must be unified. For those great minds who invented the language of this unification, invented the spirit of it, he lists Goethe, Beethoven, Stendhal, Heinrich Hein, Schopenhauer, and Wagner, and finally addresses Wagner’s great failure, his Catholic sensibility. Nietzsche wants to unify Europe without Rome. Siegfried is the type.

            The final book, the pregnant book 9, defines the nobles, the nobles who will rule Europe, describe their nature, their code. Nietzsche is a “yes sayer” whose tastes is “the taste of intoleration.” Any simplifications, any summaries or polemics for or against Nietzsche would not be truth, would be dogmatical, would not use the will to power. It is useful to see that Nietzsche’s spirit lives with us still, abides over Europe, inspires her best minds, is still working over world history.

            America, which so perfectly embodies many of his ideals, yet avoids a literal reading of him, a misunderstanding of mere tropes as opposed to esoteric enlightenment of deep sense – or in other words, a fundamentalist reading.

            Emerson, who is the mind of America, and Nietzsche’s master, had this to say regarding nobility:

Aristocracy is a good sign. Aristocracy has been the hue and cry of every community where there has been anything good, any society worth associating with, since men met in cities. It must be everywhere. T’were the greatest calamity to have it abolished. It went nearest its death in the French Revolution, of all time.

A little later in his journal he writes;

The common conversation that takes place in a city for a year does not embrace more intelligence than one vigorous thinker might originate; and he who carefully considers the flow and progress of opinions from man to man and rank to rank through society will soon discover that three or four masters present the people with all that moderate stock of conclusions upon politics, religion, commerce, and sentiment which goes current. The kingdom of thought is a proud aristocracy.




Perfection is Easy

Time is now

Apotheosis welcomes

Eternity Bows





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