Monday, June 04, 2007

Affirmation as Repressed Nihilist Despair, Part I

By taking Nietzsche’s parable of the eagles and lambs out of context, I have succeeded in destroying some of the most pertinent points Nietzsche makes about ressentiment as it relates to our inquiry on “desiring one’s own repression.”

I’ll try to make this up to you now, Mr. Nietzsche – honest I will! Honest!

Mr. Nietzsche said this,

“That lambs dislike great birds of prey does not seem strange: only it gives no grounds for reproaching these birds of prey for bearing off little lambs. And if the lambs say among themselves: "these birds of prey are evil; and whoever is least like a bird of prey, but rather its opposite, a lamb—would he not be good?" there is no reason to find fault with this institution of an ideal, except perhaps that the birds of prey might view it a little ironically and say: "we don't dislike them at all, these good little lambs; we even love them: nothing is more tasty than a tender lamb."

To demand of strength that it should not express itself as strength, that it should not be a desire to overcome, a desire to throw down, a desire to become master, a thirst for enemies and resistances and triumphs, is just as absurd as to demand of weakness that it should express itself as strength.”

As I have explained, my usual way of relating to this story is to form various identifications with eagle or lamb, and then to dramatize the identifications to see how they play out. Doing this has been great fun within the “theater of the mind” I stage by myself, for myself, but as my real aim is a productive thinking and a “factory of the mind” with exteriorizing production rather than a theater of mind with its endless interioristic fantasizing,continuing to indulge in this form of reading and relating is becoming more and more counter-productive.

Therefore, I don't want to comment much further on interiorized dramas, but there’s one salient feature of these dramas ( and possibly of all drama, interiorized or not,) I want to point out: drama relies on stark binaristic lines for its effects… in real drama, between audience and performer; the good and the bad; between subjects and objects; etc.

I want to combine this notion of drama with what I find to be absolutely crucial in Nietzsche’s concept of will-to-power: its power to philosophically address the ancient philosophical problem of these very stark binaristic lines…The way that Nietzsche’s concept specifically and philosophically addresses this purely philosophical problem. ( The idea that this is philosophical is emphasized because it is of the utmost importance to break the strong conventional connections existing between Nietzsche’s concept of will-to-power and numerous concepts specific to the fields of psychology and politics which condition the conventional understandings of Nietzsche's concept of will-to-power .)
There is no “drama,” in any ordinary terms, between Nietzsche’s eagles and lambs.

This is because: (and this is the difficult part) – there is an eagle will-to-power AND a lamb will-to-power. (Once again I question Nietzsche’s choice of example for getting this point across – most people, I believe, read the story and too quickly identify will-to-power with the eagle, never considering the existence of a lamb’s will-to-power; they can hardly be blamed for this – culture has conditioned these symbols and their associations…) Because there is eagle will-to-power and lamb will-to-power, eagle and lamb are not OPPOSED in the dramatic, culturally-conditioned manner to which we’re accustomed. It is important to understand what this difference from opposition means, what this addresses, PHILOSOPHICALLY.


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