Beyond Good and Evil

For the discussion of philosophical books.

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Post by sally »

Could there really be a 'great society' made up of thousands of unhappy and unfulfilled individuals?
I don’t think there could be, no. I was just trying to grasp N’s perspective on this.
Does empathy pick up on the nuances of thought, or does it rather pick up on the feelings of emotion?
Well, often our emotions direct us as much as, or, realistically, more than, our rational arguments do, so I will still stick with my view that empathy increases our understanding of others. Most opinions also rely on certain emotional perspectives too (e.g. how we felt while doing X), so I think by having this sort of empathy we can also check the rationality of our views too.
when we remain flexible and responsive to everything as it comes about, we are more able to respond to circumstances
So your ideal you would remain flexible, so you therefore choose not to plan ahead too much?
Is it by putting ourselves in denial that these parts of ourselves go away? Or is it rather by embracing our anger, for instance, and resurrecting it as passion or even as creativity, that we use all of our selves
If we can turn something negative into something positive I’m all for it, but I reckon there are still some emotions that we would be best to overcome, for example hatred.
Wouldn’t this holding on so tightly to any idea be a form of dogmatism?
We don’t have to hold tightly to our concept of the ideal. It can change, but while we have it it’s a useful point of reference.
Isn’t this present moment quite complicated enough to deserve our full attention?
I don’t see why the present moment should deserve more consideration than all those coming future moments put together. However, I do think we need to try and make the present worth living in, in itself, or life becomes pretty pointless. I’ve found it can be quite a let down when you follow the general view that life has an eventual purpose, other than the present realities of it. The present realities are all we’re ever going to get, aren’t they?
Even the choice of an 'ideal image' must ultimately be a function of our instinct and inclination, no?
Good point… I think what I want to say is that when judging what is the best course of action for the moment, it’s worth bearing in mind what we want to achieve/ be like in the longer-term too.
Most of my decisions are of the nature of, 'ham or egg salad'
But even when you consider what to eat, aren’t you taking into account ethical issues (e.g. vegetarianism/ battery farming), and how healthy you’d like to be (is there mayonnaise on that egg?), and what you think is the best distribution of your finances (would that money have been better spent on a bus fare to the park, or given to charity etc), and how you in general want to live (momentary sensory satisfaction –egg salad- or planning more for the future –perhaps ham is cheaper and you’re trying to be frugal). Whenever you’re making a judgement your applying your values.

Thanks for your insights!

Your thoughts (we should probably try and turn this more towards Nietzsche... :roll: )
Non Sum
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Post by Non Sum »

Sally: we should probably try and turn this more towards Nietzsche... Rolling Eyes

NS: I wasn't aware that we'd turned away from him? I've found your, and all other, comments to be extremely relevant, and quite incisive at that.

What I find lacking, at least in my own comments, is some criticism for Nietzsche. He deserves a good deal of it, I believe. For one, he generalizes to the point of negating, what would have possibly been, a good point. For another, his pejorative labels (e.g. 'herd', 'slave') give the impression of an overcompensating, insecure, ego; intent on proving itself, nearly alone, to be the "superior man" among "insipid fools."

N recognizes, rightly IMO, that there are differing orientations (possibly 'types') of social persons; leaders, followers, independents. But then, why must he signal out the first as being "superior," the second as being a "slave," and the third as sometimes "superior" and other times as less than the leader? If these three are what they naturally are meant to be, where is there a place for his praise or insult?

He asks us to imagine the horror of a world where none are leaders, and all are followers. I would ask him, in turn, to imagine a world where all are leaders, and none are followers. To my mind (a natural 'independent' type), no one single type filling the world would make for a functional society. We need, not necessarily 'have to like', all 3 types to make a viable society. With that understood, we should then easily understand that none of these essential types is the proper, or inferior, man. They are each 'the essential man.'

I find N guilty of the same crime/type he describes so extremely well when he says:

"And how much naive, respect-worthy, child-like, and boundlessly asinine naivete, lies in the intellectual's belief in his own superiority, ... in the unsuspecting, homely self-confidence with which his instinct looks down on the religious man as an inferior and lower type. He imagines that he himself has surpassed it, risen beyond and 'above' it--he, the puny pretentious dwarf and "common man," the assiduously astute brain-worker, the handy-man of ideas--of modern ideas!"
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Post by mhoraine »

Hi Non Sum

I'm writing this 'post-vent' ( see Dear Diary ) and post-shower. Now, I'm going with the flow.
Well, for some reason I feel like defending Nietzsche. When I first started reading about his ideas - I was quite turned off. Nasty little man.

And I can't, right now, think of the moment when he turned it round for me.
Possibly, I just related to his weird sense of humour. Perhaps, it is in his writing. Not sure.
I would go over the bits of BG&E to try and find out but I've resolved to steer clear today.

So, not much of a defence...perhaps someone else...

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Post by Subjectivity9 »

Hi Folks,

Where does Nietzsche end…and I begin when thinking about his ideas? When I say that I believe this is what N was saying, is that really the unadulterated him, or me, or a committee effort? The committee being comprised of N/me/and what society has programmed into both of us? [A nod to Non Sum in this last statement.] Smile!


Do we choose our choices or do choices choose us? Alan Watts said, we have little understanding exactly where our choices begin, and that perhaps choice is actually a spontaneous thing…completely out of our hands; something that flows right through us.

I believe that Nietzsche felt that by the use of multiple intellectual perspectives, we could throw open the windows of tradition, and superstition, and yes even our emotional comfort zones to allow in some fresh air. We need not fear playing with ideas, even our outlandish ideas, because these very ideas could give birth to creativity.

Creativity is one of our highest gifts as the human species.

Ideas could be super-highways taking us into discovery and not necessarily causing us to hide in castles behind high walls that required our defending them even to our own detriment.

Sally: So your ideal you would remain flexible, so you therefore choose not to plan ahead too much?

S9: One can plan ahead, only with the correct understanding that all of the facts are not in. Or as some have said, that the future takes place around a corner we cannot see beyond. With this is mind, vigilance towards clarity is more important than stubborn adherence to a favored outcome.

Sally: We don’t have to hold tightly to our concept of the ideal. It can change, but while we have it it’s a useful point of reference.

S9: Hold onto any ideal long enough and it becomes habit. Then one must question who is the puppet and who the puppeteer? Does the ideal play the music that we dance too? I believe that Nietzsche saw ‘the questioning of everything,’ not so much as something that we do but rather as an attitude of mind…and perhaps our real salvation.

Sally: I don’t see why the present moment should deserve more consideration than all those coming future moments put together.

S9: The future isn’t real until it arrives. It is a dream that we weave in our heads. Much of this future dreaming never actually takes place. It is speculation too often based upon fear. Possibility is far larger than probability, and even probability is too large for us to manage in less than generalities. [For instance, money in the bank against all contingencies.]

Where however is experience more concrete? Is it not in the present moment? In other words, where can we actually do anything? Where are we ever capable of being happy? Future living is wasted energy. If we don’t keep it from running away with us…we suffer anxiety, aka fear of the future. Or as Karen Horny said, neurosis is when we build up dream selves and must ever after defend this image against realities onslaughts.

NonSum: Even the choice of ‘an ideal image' must ultimately be a function of our instinct and inclination, no?

S9: I read somewhere just recently that Nietzsche wanted us to have values that where more based on nature. One might ask, aren’t instincts and inclinations a more natural flower blooming out of who knows where in nature; a little like a plant reaching for the sun?

Would we then do something that was declared by the masses to be unselfish and for the good of all, even when it was also unhealthy for the individual? Why must there always be a winner and a loser?

We are taught to sacrifice for the other, and they for us, but than who is the recipient of all this sacrifice? Seems like symbiosis is a healthier model.

Got my little gray cells percolating,
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Post by aloysius »

An interesting companion to Nietzsche's works is "Zarathustra's Sister". Can't remember the author's name off hand. It's more about Nietzsche's sister and how she promoted his work and benefited financially from it after his death.

It seems she was largely responsible for the Nazi misinterpretaion of some of Nietzsche's work, in particular the concept of the "Overman".
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