Against remorse.- I do not like this kind of cowardice toward one’s deeds… One would have to be a theologian to believe in a power that annuls guilt: we immoralists prefer not to believe in “guilt.” We hold instead that every action is of identical value at root – and that actions that turn against us may, economically considered, be nonetheless useful, generally desirable actions. Nietzsche, The Will To Power
…Nietzsche has written what he has written. He has written that writing – and first of all his own – is not originarily subordinate to the logos and to truth. And that this subordination has come into being during an epoch whose meaning we must deconstruct. Derrida, Of Grammatology
I am emale, caught up in the embrace of Nietzsche’s arguments. One of my old lecturers, David Massey (a man who I have the utmost respect for and consider a kindred spirit, a true “philosopher of the hammer”), warned me about Nietzsche. The more I read of his works, the more bewitched or enchanted I am emale becomes in the writing. It began with the Anti-Christ a month ago (again) and I have made fervent notes throughout my copy. I picked up the Will To Power a little while ago and the movements that led him to madness, are becoming apparent. The spectral quality of his object neither metaphysical nor physiological, is what drove him to the final resting place of his discourse where his illness finally overcame him. One could almost ecko his own words on Socrates back at him: Mr Nietzsche has been sick a long time and death or madness is the cure. In some way he is my inner daemon, much as Socrates was his inner daemon and Socrates himself had his own daemon.
What set Nietzsche apart from the others in his judgements? He wrote in the Anti-Christ, his words are free of “moralic acid.” His works were a re-evaluation of values or a will to power, extolling the eternal recurrence of the same. In other words, he only measured the value of things according to a descending or ascending scale. A physiological condition was his truth and conditions such as happiness only resulted from the happy co-ordination of forces in the body, when one acts in unity and these acts in themselves may at times also be “evil.”
I am emale came across Nietzsche for the first time in one of David Massey’s subjects at university in my undergraduate years. Nietzsche wan’t on the reading list and I found him looking for an argument outside the reading list. The subject was called “Vulnerable Identities” and was concerned with the stories of the oppressed, the weak and ill. A group that Nietzsche himself condemned many times in his writing, seeing liberal and benevolent philosophies as contradicting the natural order of things, by refusing the selection principle by which the strong should come to power and the weak should perish. The whole grew stronger.
Nietzsche’s meaning – the logos or truth – in his words, is not simple or obvious. The action was what counted for Nietzsche – action without activity, without ego, only an inspired will to power seeking its own natural advantage, an increase in well-being. He declared war on Christianity as the religion of pity, a descending form of nihilism that never came into contact with reality.
His evaluation reminds I am emale of the Divided Self Laing wrote of in his book of the same name. Dead on the outside, alive within where no-one can ever see one’s true and secret self, the living soul of the person, these sufferers of schizophrenia (in its final stages) invent whole personas for themselves and for situations designed to manage the divided self, the whole person they experience but can never reveal.
In particular, these divided selves had a fear of actions because their inner idea that their true selves were invisible and untouchable could be held to account by their actions. The primordial fear is at one with the fundamental striving for authenticity.
The parallels with Christianity should be obvious. Crucified to the flesh and alive to Christ – not citizens of this world but in a world hereafter, the eternal (eternity in the vulgar sense of the word “time”) kingdom of God where their rewards are waiting.
On The Genealogy of Morals was the first book I am emale picked up by Mr Nietzsche. The second essay on guilt, good and bad conscience and the like, caught my attention. The naive thought entered my head that if I could critique this work, I could open up a new ethic, a justice in itself. At that time I hadn’t even read Plato’s Republic, man’s first striving towards the ideal of justice-in-itself. The history of a concept in its unliving shell – the etymology of lines from “debt” to “guilt” in German – unearthed a vast way of thinking and a new respect for history and the contingency of our “eternal truths” – including Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence.
In the Gay Science, in an aphorism comparing those people he likes to flying fish playing on the “countless waves of laughter,” Nietzsche was led to utter the words:
Sit venia verbo.