The Philosophy of Reason

I love Nijinsky not like Narcissus but like God. I love him for he gave me life. I do not want to pay compliments. I love him. I know his habits. He loves me for he knows my habits. I am without habits. Nijinsky

In solitude.- Those who live alone do not speak too loud nor write too loud, for they fear the hollow echo – the critique of the nymph Echo. And all voices sound different in solitude. Nietzsche

Translator’s note:- Nijinsky often confuses the notions of “being” and “possessing,” and substitutes “to be” for “to have.” Fitzlyon, translator of the Unexpurgated Edition of the Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky

The joy in human unreason, the arbitrariness in feeling, seeing and hearing in the eruption of madness is the greatest danger to mankind, according to Nietzsche in the Gay Science.

Perhaps in no greater example than Nijinsky, can we see the trouble foreseen by Nietzsche. In his “diary” he repeatedly comes back to the theme of reason by intelligence and reason by feeling. He is alone with this distinction, alone in his attic, writing out the words in a book which will save humanity he thinks.

And in what sense can this book be called a “diary,” a record of the daily events that occurred to Nijinsky? He begins the book with a record of his lunch. He talks of his walks around St. Moritz. But he always intended this book to be published. “I know that men will love each other if I tell them the truth.”

Nijinsky was swept away by the power of passion, an affect by which he had no adequate reason to explain the cause: “he loves me for he knows my habits. I have no habits.” Repetition and Difference… He sees “rights” as necessary yet “this does not mean that these rights are divine rights.” In elevating the man into the divine (in the diary, he will sometimes speak as if in the voice of God such as the first quote above), he rejects the law of agreement. Nijinsky is alone.

Not that he should become an object of pity for all that. He was himself aware of the perceptions and circumstances surrounding him, writing that he knew people will say, ‘Nijinsky is mad,’ and he would go into an asylum if it would make his wife happy. He was resigned to his fate as much as Abraham resigned himself to the command of God to sacrifice his firstborn son through whom God had promised, a nation would be born.

The solitude of the writer is an often romanticised notion. Alone with thoughts and words, visibilities and statements, the writer fashions himself a work of art. The multiplicity of difference – multiple origins of feelings, written in the heart – versus the solitude of identity, acting on conscience, the inner voice of God (or the priest/ the doctor?). See Deleuze’s concept of repetition against the general economy of signs: the body is the site of contestation. It takes courage to give words to one’s feelings, to say ‘no’ to the law of agreement, for feelings expressed in words lose their materiality once they cross the threshold of visibility into statement.

The “diary” is the form of expression by which Nijinsky can best express in words his philosophy of reason, “arbitrarily,” like God in human nature, intuited by the force of his affect. The third kind of reason in Spinoza’s ethics, absolute and singular, succeeds the common notions. By his philosophy of reason by feeling, as opposed to thinking, he possesses himself, he explains himself by plication, for which there is no law of agreement – all voices sound different in solitude, in the arbitrary nature of a judgement founded purely on intuition.

To understand does not mean to know all the words. Words are not speech. Nijinsky

The question of identity is a question of possession perhaps as Hegel meant possession in terms of a slave owning the product by virtue of authorship; the body owns the product of its works (Nijinsky records his sister-in-law’s spoor and shares his thoughts about excrement as a reflection of the state of mind or ethos of an individual) whilst the master-mind – as in possessing all of one’s senses, to be in control of one’s faculties, Plato’s philosopher-king of the Republic, to be free and sovereign and therefore accountable – he owns the product. It’s his to sell, to use in a general economy of exchange. As the slave, he may have the ‘authentic’ ownership by virtue of workmanship though he does not own the “rights” to it. Plato saw virtue as characteristic of a doing, ability, not as saintly and merely an ends in itself as we say today when we might say, for example, a priest is virtuous.

The fundamental difference between a “human rights” and a “divine rights” as I am Emale understands Nijinsky, lies in an aesthetic. It is merely human to have habits which is why Nijinsky loves God because he has habits. But God is singular in a line of eternal becoming. He knows no habits. “I love Nijinsky [my self] not like Narcissus [in reflection, that is to think] but like God [reason with feeling, not intelligence].” To escape the economy of the same by virtue of an affect that comes from the outside.

Needless to say, writing the double position – to be slave and master, human and divine – would be difficult to occupy if not impossible. It would require an art. “Let us begin with the impossible. Later.” (Derrida)

In the art of literature, this art would be a double science, making visible the difference between speech and writing in the author’s time – the eternal time of the divine (revelation, visibilities, light, enlightenment (for I am Emale, “light” is privileged with the divine because it is not ‘conscious’ of time, the speed of light being equal to the experience of time, a universal limit, apart from the non-local behaviour of sub-atomic particles in the phenomena of quantum mechanics, being an exception to the rule)) and the finite time of being human (genesis, statements, Word – can one be said to know of a thing if one cannot speak of it – Socratic irony).

We all, to greater or lesser degrees, exercise our “rights” to a freedom of speech in writing a weblog, no matter how “arbitrary” the subject-matter.

The “diary” (or the weblog) is an overcoming of the finite being-[human], a transport across time and space, elevating the human into the divine, to render an account of one’s desire as the striving for an indefinite (eternal) duration in a lifetime.

I am the philosophy of reason. I am the true, not invented, philosophy. Nietzsche went mad because he realised at the end of his life that everything he had written was nonsense. He became frightened of people and went mad. Nijinsky, “On Death”

“The machine is dead.” (Derrida from “Freud and the Scene of Writing”) As Derrida says, it would not be enough to reduce writing merely to a technology (and here, in light of the discussion on writing the self, of the diary, one cannot help but think of the technology of the self in the late Foucault; Foucault does not exactly mean “technology” in the sense Derrida is critiquing but rather “techne” as in a doing, a skill, an ability).

The immanence of desire does not readily lend itself to the synthesis of a dialectical reasoning, nor the “lone voice of reason” such that Nijinsky or Nietzsche might be understood as unheard “prophets” – the critique of Echo. Rather, instead of thinking of the impossibility of synthesis as a negative (nothing wants to die), it should be understood as a positive condition by which we, and we alone, can make a difference and create something new.

 

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