The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2154
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Hereandnow » June 8th, 2019, 12:14 pm

Was inspired to read Julian Young's book on Nietzsche and art and came across this (italics mine):

Instead of proving himself in his first book as an unswerving follower of
Schopenhauer Nietzsche discovered in Greek art a bulwark against
Schopenhauer's pessimism. One can oppose the shallow optimism of so
many Western thinkers and yet refuse to negate life. Schopenhauer's
negative pessimism is rejected along with the superficial optimism of the
popular Hegelians and Darwinists: One can face the terrors of history and
nature with unbroken courage and say Yes to life.


Is this possible? Can a person in full sight of the world and its dreadful aspects say Yes to life? I mean, of course, you can say it, you can put it forth as a life affirmation to cure the nagging pain of beholding what is there, but to have this as a remedy is disingenuous, an act of bad faith. For to "cure" the agony of despair that issues from the compassion that insists on seeing clearly in spite of the rationalizing metaphysics as well as the moronic distractions of modern culture (many of which I love), one has to maintain an abiding understanding; one cannot look away, for this is not what people who want the truth do.

Of course, if compassion is an alien notion to you, then there is nothing to discuss. Not giving a damn is not to be burdened in the first place with moral understanding. (A place waits for you on Trump's team.)

Walter Kaufmann's quote above refers to a philosophical saying Yes to life, not a mere practical one. Obviously, we can't go around feeling miserable until everyone is off life's hook. The point here is that this philosophical optimism seems a contradiction in terms: affirming life (the total acknowledged reality of human selves) logically negates the recognition of suffering.

The only "cure" would lie beyond what is seen. Our true life, Levinas wrote, is absent.

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 2269
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Felix » June 11th, 2019, 7:19 pm

It requires a shift in consciousness that is more than simply a change in one's mental attitude, the secular equivalent of being "born again," a return to the sense of wonder about the world one knew as a small child. As Christ put it: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2154
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Hereandnow » June 11th, 2019, 11:23 pm

Felix
It requires a shift in consciousness that is more than simply a change in one's mental attitude, the secular equivalent of being "born again," a return to the sense of wonder about the world one knew as a small child. As Christ put it: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
I have always thought this right. Wordsworth and the other romantics, like those of the American renaissance, Emerson et al, were very close to this. But the idea constitutes a negation of the self altogether. One would have to give up being a person; and a child's life has no reflective part to it. It is, as Sartre put it, prereflective. Animals are like this: they don't know that they know, they just know, where, for example, the grass is sweeter.
I don't know if I would want to yield my consciousness to that of a thoughtless child. Would it even be me?
Kierkegaard, on the other hand, thought differently about the "childlike" state". Sin, he thought, had its essence in being the very person I am reluctant to give up. That is, sin was hereditary sin (not original): it was the the language and logic and culture that comprises our personality. We receive these and recollect them, and then mindlessly present them as ourselves, and this entire enterprise of being a person is a failure to turn to God and the soul, which is only found int eh eternal present. K thought if one could live in the eternal present yet wield the thoughts and culture we are given, we would be true knights of faith. This he called Repetition.
Sin is not a great word, and I never bother with it. But K is on to something, as are you.

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 2269
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Felix » June 12th, 2019, 2:24 am

I think of it more as post-reflective than pre-reflective, not an abandonment of reason and reversion to a more infantile state of consciousness but the surpassing of reason. For reason is a good servant but a poor and miserly master, tending to see the world like the cynic who "knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

"K thought if one could live in the eternal present yet wield the thoughts and culture we are given, we would be true knights of faith."

That is the child-like state: to live in the eternal present. But once you've seen through your mental and cultural conditioning, you may find that "wielding" it is not fruitful. Perhaps Kierkegaard was too committed to being an evangelist?

"He - the worldling will call resignation what to the enlightened one is purest joy. He will see annihilation where the perfected one finds immortality. He will regard as death what the conquerer of Self knows to be life everlasting." - Gautama Buddha.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Tamminen
Posts: 1053
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Tamminen » June 12th, 2019, 9:02 am

The meaning of existence, if any, comes from the future. But the future means nothingness, death. So existence is just a perspective to nothingness. And the world, as the community of subjects, consists of all possible perspectives to nothingness.

In spite of this, we go on living, like animals do. We have still faith. But how long?

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2154
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Hereandnow » June 12th, 2019, 9:45 am

Felix
"He - the worldling will call resignation what to the enlightened one is purest joy. He will see annihilation where the perfected one finds immortality. He will regard as death what the conquerer of Self knows to be life everlasting." - Gautama Buddha.
Never heard of Gautama Buddha talk of immortality, so I wonder about the translation. But the thought is that it is a rough road to travel when it comes to the social and practical necessities that are in our lives. These are not from the outside, but are there within us, always already, from the time when we are able to think at all. This is why I say, to join the Buddha one has to give up being a person. I don't know that Kierkegaard's knight of faith is possible, for once you start walking 6 inches off the ground, people have no idea at all as to what you are. No enlightenment without alienation. Jesus claimed to follow him we must hate our father and mother and everyone else.
A thought: this talk about everlasting and immortality ( I will look these up), they can be made sense of if we dismiss the concept of time completely rather than trying to employ it to make sense of something like this. Wittgenstein: "If by eternity is understood not endless temporal duration but timelessness, then he lives eternally who lives in the present." he was a fan of Kierkegaard.

Tamminen
Posts: 1053
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Tamminen » June 12th, 2019, 10:01 am

Hereandnow wrote:
June 12th, 2019, 9:45 am
Wittgenstein: "If by eternity is understood not endless temporal duration but timelessness, then he lives eternally who lives in the present."
Until there is no present any more. No, the present must be endless if we want to speak about eternity in a meaninful way.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2154
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Hereandnow » June 12th, 2019, 10:07 am

Tamminen
The meaning of existence, if any, comes from the future. But the future means nothingness, death. So existence is just a perspective to nothingness. And the world, as the community of subjects, consists of all possible perspectives to nothingness.

In spite of this, we go on living, like animals do. We have still faith. But how long?
Consider, not to be a name dropper, what Kant said (not that he was right in all things): time that we have in our world is only phenomenological time, or, time that defines the structure and boundaries of experience. It is not, as most empirical scientists implicitly acknowledge, absolute time, which is no more than a postulate. So this future you mention, is it not a concept we have in our heads grounded in delimited experience? I think this is true. Odd thing about this is that one cannot, I would posit, think of the brevity of our time without thinking of it against the backdrop of what we call eternity; that is, our finitude must be IN eternity, or timelessness. This concept of time we have is analyzable: It seems to be mostly all about the past's projection into a future. If we omit the concept of time altogether, via Occam's razor, and just accept that our time words like tomorrow, and 'just a minute' and the rest are really the substance of what we mean by time, we are reducing time to its elemental features: structures of past into anticipations of what is to come. Close down these anticipations, as a Buddhist would do, and the time words lose application altogether; they fall away. And death falls away, too. Not that the body doesn't die, but this does not occur in time. It "occurs" in "eternity" (Double inverted commas there for the understanding that all terms fall away when time's anticipations fall away.)
One must see that all this talk is at best, interpretative. Mine included, and those from whom it is derived.

Tamminen
Posts: 1053
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Tamminen » June 12th, 2019, 10:36 am

Hereandnow wrote:
June 12th, 2019, 10:07 am
Tamminen
The meaning of existence, if any, comes from the future. But the future means nothingness, death. So existence is just a perspective to nothingness. And the world, as the community of subjects, consists of all possible perspectives to nothingness.

In spite of this, we go on living, like animals do. We have still faith. But how long?
Consider, not to be a name dropper, what Kant said (not that he was right in all things): time that we have in our world is only phenomenological time, or, time that defines the structure and boundaries of experience. It is not, as most empirical scientists implicitly acknowledge, absolute time, which is no more than a postulate. So this future you mention, is it not a concept we have in our heads grounded in delimited experience? I think this is true. Odd thing about this is that one cannot, I would posit, think of the brevity of our time without thinking of it against the backdrop of what we call eternity; that is, our finitude must be IN eternity, or timelessness. This concept of time we have is analyzable: It seems to be mostly all about the past's projection into a future. If we omit the concept of time altogether, via Occam's razor, and just accept that our time words like tomorrow, and 'just a minute' and the rest are really the substance of what we mean by time, we are reducing time to its elemental features: structures of past into anticipations of what is to come. Close down these anticipations, as a Buddhist would do, and the time words lose application altogether; they fall away. And death falls away, too. Not that the body doesn't die, but this does not occur in time. It "occurs" in "eternity" (Double inverted commas there for the understanding that all terms fall away when time's anticipations fall away.)
One must see that all this talk is at best, interpretative. Mine included, and those from whom it is derived.
So you seem to think that a timeless present is possible: being without time, a present without the next present or the end of presents. I do not think that way: I think time is an internal property of being. I am with Heidegger on this.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2154
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Hereandnow » June 12th, 2019, 12:08 pm

Tamminen
So you seem to think that a timeless present is possible: being without time, a present without the next present or the end of presents. I do not think that way: I think time is an internal property of being. I am with Heidegger on this.
As am I, with Heidegger on this, that is. But where H wants to liberate us from the mere "recollection" of the past which, in its immediacy, qualititatively, and I use Kierkegaard's term here with a purpose, brings forth our existence, what he calls das man, a thoughtless going along with what is given to us as identity and values, one needs to remember where this comes from: Kierkegaard. K defended, it seems, the idea that we need be liberated from the, why not call it a wheel of samsara, this constant production of thoughts and feelings and attachments and interpretations, by seeing that what is truly actual is free of interpretation as a foundation to action. Odd way to put it, but K held that we are free (H had read everything K wrote) only if we do not allow this recollection to possess us. In the escape from what he calls qualititative existence we need to make a qualitative leap into the present: qualitative because, as Husserl held latter on with his epoche, when you stand outside of all the presuppositions that issues from past and "see" things themselves (Husserl) you have entered into a very strange place. Mystical, even. You are in time as the objects around you are still backgrounded in context, hence the ability to acknowledge a tree as a tree. This taking things "as" is still in place. But in some unspeakable way, you are out of it. Time and the speaking are one, and something of the "presence" that lies before you is alien to usual temporal and speaking presuppositions.
Heidegger had no truck with this kind of thing. To him, Husserl's presence was like, I have read, walking on water. One 's experiences are always already contextualized. There is no out of context in your apprehending of a thing.
No true "present". Only presencing, if you will: that ever moving into the future that never stops qualifying what is before you.
I think one either does acknowledge something extraordinary in the phenomenological reduction or one does not. See for yourself, I say. Meditate, read, not what argues against it, but what argues for it. See what they say. Philosophy can and should be a miraculous liberation from the commonplace. i can hardly provide a full defense here.

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 2269
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Felix » June 12th, 2019, 12:31 pm

Tamminen: "I think time is an internal property of being."

Only to those who are trapped in subject-object awareness, which is a blinder to being.

Spinoza said: "Felicity is not the reward of virtue, it is virtue itself." In other words, it is not the progeny of temporal awareness.

Hereandnow: "Heidegger had no truck with this kind of thing."

Not in his early works, but his orientation changes in his later works, and he speaks of meditative thinking, the transcendent power of poetry, and how the poet interprets the timeless to man.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Tamminen
Posts: 1053
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Tamminen » June 12th, 2019, 1:35 pm

I think we should make a distinction between timelessness as an experienced quality of consciousness and timelessness as an ontological possibility. My view is that timeless being is impossible, but the present is eternal, which means that (1) it always has a content and (2) there is always the next content. Consciousness is not a photograph, it is a motion picture. It is true that a movie is made of still pictures, but there has to be a succession of them to make the movie. And we cannot stop the film. To stop it means death. I have never understood what Kierkegaard meant when he said that the present is a cross-section of time and eternity. Too esoteric for me.

But to be honest, I am not sure if we speak of the same things.

Jklint
Posts: 1323
Joined: February 23rd, 2012, 3:06 am

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Jklint » June 12th, 2019, 3:32 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 12:14 pm
Was inspired to read Julian Young's book on Nietzsche and art and came across this (italics mine):

Instead of proving himself in his first book as an unswerving follower of
Schopenhauer Nietzsche discovered in Greek art a bulwark against
Schopenhauer's pessimism. One can oppose the shallow optimism of so
many Western thinkers and yet refuse to negate life. Schopenhauer's
negative pessimism is rejected along with the superficial optimism of the
popular Hegelians and Darwinists: One can face the terrors of history and
nature with unbroken courage and say Yes to life.


Is this possible? Can a person in full sight of the world and its dreadful aspects say Yes to life? I mean, of course, you can say it, you can put it forth as a life affirmation to cure the nagging pain of beholding what is there, but to have this as a remedy is disingenuous, an act of bad faith. For to "cure" the agony of despair that issues from the compassion that insists on seeing clearly in spite of the rationalizing metaphysics as well as the moronic distractions of modern culture (many of which I love), one has to maintain an abiding understanding; one cannot look away, for this is not what people who want the truth do.
Haven't we already been doing that since day one? No matter the adversity or its cause, humans have always kept on going regardless. This has nothing to do with any philosophy even Nietzsche's. It's simply a fact of life as determined by nature which strives to continue through every kind of suffering imaginable and keep breeding in the process.

Whether we say yes to life or not, life will have its way whatever its inflictions.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2154
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Hereandnow » June 12th, 2019, 8:42 pm

Tamminen

I think we should make a distinction between timelessness as an experienced quality of consciousness and timelessness as an ontological possibility. My view is that timeless being is impossible, but the present is eternal, which means that (1) it always has a content and (2) there is always the next content. Consciousness is not a photograph, it is a motion picture. It is true that a movie is made of still pictures, but there has to be a succession of them to make the movie. And we cannot stop the film. To stop it means death. I have never understood what Kierkegaard meant when he said that the present is a cross-section of time and eternity. Too esoteric for me.

But to be honest, I am not sure if we speak of the same things.
I think you have something there. It is closer to an experienced quality of life, but I also think that when it comes to ontology, time becomes equally part of what Heidegger called equiprimordial concepts. I am not trying to throw smoke your way with this term. It is an important idea. H did not shy away circular thinking; in fact, he kind of celebrated it. for he was against the privileging of any concepts over others as foundational. Time is not, for H, a foundational concept; such things were what he was fighting against. So yes, he did theorize an ontology of time, but he would be forced to conceive of time as just a concept, a gathering of thought and taking up the world 'as" time. No absolutes, just interpretation (though I know he did privilege some primordial concepts over others as more authentic and meaning filled. I have to read more on this. He is ever referencing the Greeks and I think he thinks they possessed something important we have lost in history).

So: this objection you have is really against the Parmenidean Being, over the Heraclitean flux. No "still picture". Kierkegaard, if i may try to defend him, was working with an enigmatic idea, that of actuality. If dasein (using H's term) is defined as the existence we have/are that is a projection of past into future as we, human daseins, are on the cusp of possibilities and can from here decide what to do and thereby make our existence what we will, it seems to be that this dynamic is not real in a very important way: it is reason's attempt to encompass actuality, as if one could "say" what is actual, as Hegel said with his "the rational is the real". K thought this absurd. this stuff of the world (see his Repetition), its feels, its densities, it is altogether NOT a concept. Actuality is not a concept at all.
I wont go further save this: K sought actuality, the real, and found recollection (Plato's Phaedo), the idea, and concluded since time is all about the successive production of ideas (the talk, the logic, the language), the production of our existence in time is not our true self, or lacks our actuality, which is the soul, God.
Weird, but I like him. Sorry for the wordiness.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2154
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Kaufmann on Nietzsche

Post by Hereandnow » June 12th, 2019, 9:26 pm

Jklint

Haven't we already been doing that since day one? No matter the adversity or its cause, humans have always kept on going regardless. This has nothing to do with any philosophy even Nietzsche's. It's simply a fact of life as determined by nature which strives to continue through every kind of suffering imaginable and keep breeding in the process.

Whether we say yes to life or not, life will have its way whatever its inflictions.
Right. And who could disagree with this? As to having to do with philosophy, well, it depends on who you read. Certainly not Nietzsche. His idea of redemption for the lesser endowed to get over the unfairness, stop being so resentful and organizing institutions of resentment, like Christianity, and let people alone, let the Odysseuses of the world step up and take their place. Nietzsche has little regard for moralizing metaphysics.

Good thing I'm not a fan of Nietzsche's. He spent his life fighting illness, then reified HIS struggle in Schopenhauer's Will, and resent the resenters, the ones, unlike him, who couldn't bear under the weight of the world.

To me, it takes an astounding lack of curiosity not to wonder what suffering is doing in this world at all. If you were imprisoned for no reason, then brought before a death squad, I bet you would be interested then. Or if you had some issue, and you had to deal with a bureaucracy that never ended, that would be curious. Or if you turned into an insect over night, well. Kafka tried to tell us something about this world. We see HOW things go, but we are alienated from the what of things. All terms reduce to pragmatics, and our apprehension of the real is just reified familiarity and instrumentality. Yet the real is there, mysterious and alien. And we are in it, and we suffer and die in it. Kafka's Gregor Samsa, became an insect, but his concerns were mundane. As it is with people. Hard to look up, when so busy in the age of gadgets.

As to the relevance to philosophy, it is not an issue, it is THE issue. The only real one, I would argue ( we can go into this if you like) for all questions in ohilosophy beg the question: why bother? what does it mean to take on the bother of asking any question at all. It has value. What is value? Vaue is what ethics is about. Ethics is transcendental, not factual. I knew this before I read Wittgenstein's Lecture on ethics.

Philosophy doesn't care much for what we do in our ordinary lives, it questions the foundations of this. Of course, as you say, humans continue to strive through every kind of suffering, and so on. You might say, humans continue to think and make judgments and get along just fine; but does that mean Kant wasn't onto what philosophy is all about?? This fact of life. Is it? A fact, that is. What are facts? Do facts possess a descriptive account of what suffering is? i mean, the pain, the misery, and all for no reason we can fathom, is a description of the misery, the empirical account, exhaustive of the suffering? What about that the suffering is a terrible thing? The awfulness of it. The "badness" of it? what kind of badness is this? Ethical badness is the THE single most powerful mystery in our world. It is why we have religion.

Post Reply