What does early man understand by death?… if a man lives and moves, it can only be because he has a little man inside who moves him…
“The Soul As A Manikin” from The Golden Bough, James Frazer
The little man is the soul. The voodoo doll is the classic depiction of the little man, tied to the naive idea that sticking needles in the little man will result in the real person’s agony and maybe even death.
The Buyer takes on an ominous grey-green colour. Fact is his body is making its own junk or equivalent. The Buyer has a steady connection. A Man Within you might say. Or so he thinks…
Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
The soul is a multiplicity always, not an individual entity, as the Buyer thinks (and the Buyer-type is easily translated into contexts other than the drug market).
The soul is a collective spirit: more than not-body, the soul is the whole that is greater than the sum of its parts (no matter how little that sum adds up to). Bataille was right when he wrote Nietzsche was concerned with the whole. The Birth of Tragedy is rumination on the meaning of community in the fifth century BC Greek culture, a culture that might be considered the first bridge towards modern civilisation and a move from “early man.”
Festivals and contests were religious affairs – “the spiritualisation of enmity.” At the Greater Dionysia, actors put on masks and pretended to be immortal gods, played out the lives and deaths of their heroes and their daemons.
Behind the scenes and off-stage, sat the writer. Nietzsche valorised the solitary type, the “private thinker” as a means to the ends of man, an appeal to the little man within, rather than the mob without, and the State, the “coldest of cold monsters.. that lies when it says, ‘I, the State, am the people.'”
Community was constantly on his mind.
What was this force that freed Prometheus from his vultures and made myth the vehicle of Dionysiac wisdom? It was the Herculean force of music – which, supremely manifested in tragedy, was able to interpret myth with a new and most profound eloquence.
The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music, Friedrich Nietzsche
Zarathustra came down from the mountain to speak to future generations. Upon his first attempt, all he got was a dead acrobat. But he returned again from the mountains to discourse with his brothers upon the meaning of “soul:” “Every soul is a world unto its own; for every soul, every other soul is an afterworld.” This tragic aspect of self-consciousness and self-awareness, hypertrophied by modern life styles and formed by modern institutions and their collective disciplines in whole generations, was not lost on Nietzsche and still, he tried to invent a way for a people to exist together as soul.
The little man is the man(kind) within. Take the care of the self in caring for the community, the interconnectedness of life and ek-sistence in its tragic solitude(I am emale is not writing of the Internet and those half-baked ideas such as preached at Woodford folk festival, that the Internet is some kind of global Mind with the Earth as its Body, individual synapses firing randomly!).
If I want to realise totality in my consciousness, I have to relate myself to an immense, ludicrous, and painful convulsion of all of humanity. This impulse moves toward all meanings.
On Nietzsche, Georges Bataille
The passing on of wisdom to further the soul of mankind and breathe life into a new generation, “that a new kind of man has come to his bliss,” is the mission.
I am emale.