Thus Spake Evanustra

In so far as the word “knowledge” has any meaning, the world is knowable; but it is interpretable otherwise, it has no meaning behind it, but countless meanings.—“Perspectivism.”

Every drive is a kind of lust to rule; each one has its perspective that it would like to compel all the other drives to accept as a norm.


Since most philosophies attempt to explain the universe without God, Nietzsche has already taken the presumed position that God is dead with this definition. His definition for perspectivism is nice and tidy and clever, but it leads people to nihilistic belief systems. Nihilism simply contradicts itself.

I am not completely convinced that Nietzsche was the primer for the world wars as others have said. It was likely they would have happened anyway without the help of him stating the obvious that men lust for power. People even took Nietzsches philosophy wrong if you believe that he did influence the wars. "Each one has its perspective". Sounds more like the argument for the Utopian civilization of tolerance of other views, rather than for war mongers. This really has one direction to take and that is towards nihilism where no real truth can be held by anyone because truth is non-existent. If say Hitler took this to heart, we would likely have a much different result.

Nietzsche cannot claim truth in his statements when he says things like "Each one has its perspective". Well my perspective differs far from his. Nietzsche was also considered insane by many, even from birth, which grew constantly. The proof for it is inconclusive but I see it likely.


Anonymous the Younger said...

My favorite line from that passage is: "Is there still an above and below [after we have killed God]?"

New Struggles. After Buddha was dead people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave, an immense frightful shadow. God is dead – but as the human race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which people will show his shadow. And we have still to overcome his shadow! Let us be on our Guard. Let us be on our guard against thinking that the world is a living being. Where could it extend itself? What could it nourish itself with? How could it grow and increase? We know tolerably well what the organic is; and we are to reinterpret the emphatically derivative, tardy, rare and accidental, which we only perceive on the crust of the earth, into the essential, universal and eternal, as those do who call the universe an organism? That disgusts me. Let us now be on our guard against believing that the universe is a machine; it is assuredly not constructed with a view to one end; we invest it with far too high an honour with the word "machine."


The Madman. Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: "I seek God! I seek God!" As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. “Why, is he lost?” said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea- voyage? Has he emigrated? the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub. The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances. "Where is God gone?" he called out. "I mean to tell you! We have killed him, you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Back wards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Do we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction? for even Gods putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console our selves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife, who will wipe the blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What lustrums, what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it? There never was a greater event, and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history hitherto!" Here the madman was silent and looked again at his hearers; they also were silent and looked at him in surprise. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, so that it broke in pieces and was extinguished. "I come too early," he then said, "I am not yet at the right time. This prodigious event is still on its way, and is traveling, it has not yet reached men's ears. Lightning and thunder need time, the light of the stars needs time, deeds need time, even after they are done, to be seen and heard. This deed is as yet further from them than the furthest star, and yet they have done it!" It is further stated that the madman made his way into different churches on the same day, and there intoned his Requiem aeternam deo. When led out and called to account, he always gave the reply : "What are these churches now, if they are not the tombs and monuments of God?"

Anonymous the Younger said...

There are, of course, two other passages - the one where he says we cannot fathom God's demise and it will rend our society apart, and the one where he looks forward to post-modernism joyfully - but the above has always been my favorite bit from The Gay Science. Here's the rest:

What our Cheerfulness Signifies. The most important of more recent events that "God is dead," that the belief in the Christian God has become unworthy of belief already begins to cast its first shadows over Europe. To the few at least whose eye, whose suspecting glance, is strong enough and subtle enough for this drama, some sun seems to have set, some old, profound confidence seems to have changed into doubt : our old world must seem to them daily more darksome, distrustful, strange and "old." In the main, however, one may say that the event itself is far too great, too remote, too much beyond most people s power of apprehension, for one to suppose that so much as the report of it could have reached them; not to speak of many who already knew what had taken place, and what must all collapse now that this belief had been undermined, because so much was built upon it," so much rested on it, and had become one with it: for example, our entire European morality. This lengthy, vast and uninterrupted process of crumbling, destruction, ruin and overthrow which is now imminent: who has realized it sufficiently to-day to have to stand up as the teacher and herald of such a tremendous logic of terror, as the prophet of a period of gloom and eclipse, the like of which has probably never taken place on earth before? Even we, the born riddle-readers, who wait as it were on the mountains posted twixt to-day and to-morrow, and engirt by their contradiction, we, the firstlings and premature children of the coming century, into whose sight especially the shadows which must forthwith envelop Europe should already have come how is it that even we, with out genuine sympathy for this period of gloom, contemplate its advent without any personal solicitude or fear? Are we still, perhaps, too much under the immediate effects of the event and are these effects, especially as regards our selves, perhaps the reverse of what was to be expected not at all sad and depressing, but rather like a new and indescribable variety of light, happiness, relief, enlivenment, encouragement, and dawning day? ... In fact, we philosophers and "free spirits" feel ourselves irradiated as by a new dawn by the report that the "old God is dead"; our hearts overflow with gratitude, astonishment, presentiment and expectation. At last the horizon seems open once more, granting even that it is not bright ; our ships can at last put out to sea in face of every danger; every hazard is again permitted to the discerner; the sea, our sea, again lies open before us; perhaps never before did such an "open sea" exist.

Evan Gunn said...

Dude, I would have read this if you did a better job at summarizing. You probably should have posted this all on your own blog. I would have read it then.

Anonymous the Younger said...

HAHAHA! I win.

I was just providing the context for the whole "God is dead" quote. I quoted it because I think Nietzsche is a hilarious writer. His stuff is funny to me.

1. Even if God is dead, his shadow is still spooky.
2. If we kill God, we have nothing left.
3. We cannot even begin to fathom God's demise and the damage it will do to our society if/when people stop believing...
4. Unless we are Nietzsche, or another philosopher, cause they are better than you. (I think he actually sticks his tongue out at you at this point)