Saturday, June 09, 2007

Fleeing From Nihilistic Repression - Part 2

In our project of exploring "desiring one's own repression" we have returned to Nietzsche's "birds of prey" versus (no - parallel to) "lambs" metaphor. We also need to investigate the HAPPINESS of "desiring one's own repression". Repression is generally understood as negation, although it may just as well be affirmative as in the sedate contentment of the Nietzschean "last man". Fleeing from nihilistic repression might also morph into an embrace of the pleasures of the petite bourgeoisie in its continuous quest for uninterrupted hedonism. We need to move beyond.

When Zarathustra had spoken these words, he again looked at the people, and was silent. "There they stand," said he to his heart; "there they laugh: they understand me not; I am not the mouth for these ears.

Must one first batter their ears, that they may learn to hear with their eyes? Must one clatter like kettledrums and penitential preachers? Or do they only believe the stammerer?

They have something whereof they are proud. What do they call it, that which makes them proud? Culture, they call it; it distinguishes them from the goatherds.

They dislike, therefore, to hear of 'contempt' of themselves. So I will appeal to their pride.

I will speak unto them of the most contemptible thing: that, however, is THE LAST MAN!"

And thus spake Zarathustra unto the people:

It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the germ of his highest hope.

Still is his soil rich enough for it. But that soil will one day be poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be able to grow thereon.

Alas! there comes the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man--and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz!

I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: you have still chaos in you.

Alas! There comes the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There comes the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.

Lo! I show you THE LAST MAN.

"What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?"--so asks the last man and blinks.

The earth has then become small, and on it there hops the last man who makes everything small. His species is ineradicable like that of the ground-flea; the last man lives longest.

"We have discovered happiness"--say the last men, and blink.

They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth. One still loves one's neighbour and rubs against him; for one needs warmth.

Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily. He is a fool who still stumbles over stones or men!

A little poison now and then: that makes pleasant dreams. And much poison at last for a pleasant death.

One still works, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the pastime should hurt one.

One no longer becomes poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still wants to rule? Who still wants to obey? Both are too burdensome.

No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wants the same; everyone is equal: he who has other sentiments goes voluntarily into the madhouse.

"Formerly all the world was insane,"--say the subtlest of them, and blink.

They are clever and know all that has happened: so there is no end to their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon reconciled--otherwise it will spoil their stomachs.

They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health.

"We have discovered happiness,"--say the last men, and blink against the sun.
(THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA (Prologue, section 5))


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