Karen Armstrong: Die Achsenzeit. Vom Ursprung der Weltreligionen, München, Siedler 2006
#thewhitelodge #supersanity #theaxialage
Karen Armstrong: Die Achsenzeit. Vom Ursprung der Weltreligionen, München, Siedler 2006
#thewhitelodge #supersanity #theaxialage
Let us, for practical reasons in life, say that Nirvana is not a world beyond but that you break the cycle of rebirth and karma as via the reflection of the reflection you break through the material hyle and gain transcendent knowledge. I have labelled this state of the mind/soul the White Lodge. Bergson (and others) says in order to gain knowledge and familiarity with the world an enormous amount of stuff needs to be reflected and amalgamated (not only the seemingly intellectually important stuff but also the seemingly intellectually unimportant stuff), gradually the turbulent ultradialectics of the reflection over the reflection will (of course remain but also) transcend into a flatness and evenness of the mindfield that becomes pacified – which is then, in its fluorescent white – the Nirvana. Desire will not stop, and as we have already seen via the confessions of such distinguished mystics like Teresa of Avila or Marguerite Porete, the vision of pure white light – if you can ever reach it – is only a temporary one before you fall back into a lower state of consciousness as your mind permanently wanders. Via Zen-meditation you can reach a state where the observation of the wandering of mind becomes the state of the mind, i.e. one of meta-perception, yet also as the Zen masters say, they have not gained a lot via enlightenment. The flatness and the purity of the mindfield is reached via the great fluidity of the mind and the empathic knowledge of things (leading to the internalisation and introjection of them things). You will not refute ideals but you will also not be fooled by them, be neither a dreamer nor a fatalist nor cynic, you will act and think according to the order and the flow of things, that is then (as limited as it is ever possible) mastery over the things and therefore liberation. Nirvana, in the practical sense, is not reaching for a world beyond, but creation of interior and opening of the inner world that becomes realigned with the outer world.
Despite you may have broken the cycle of rebirth and karma and reached completion, you may easily find yourself wandering fragmentedly through the Samsara of the man´s world, as not many people will truly understand you. Sometimes they will of course understand you better than you do and offer glimpses of insight. That is, and will remain, strange, as „strangeness“ is inherent to the world – but it will be, as you have introjected strangeness, also inherent to yourself. People that reside very at the center of the Nirvana will also not be super impressed by it. As Goethe says to Eckermann, founders of religions like Jesus Christ or the Buddha have extroverted their inner richness, i.e. their subjective spirituality and transformed it into (objective) religion (respectively, others like Paulus have done so and likely watered it down). As in such cases, their subjective spirituality, their acquisition of cosmic consciousness, is of objective importance, it may well be that they fall prey to their spirituality and become an instrument of their spirituality/religion (like also many enlightened and rational minds like Newton or Pascal did) (at lower levels of spirituality, or when personality is distorted it may become the other way round and inflate their narcissism). Thou shalt not be fooled by thy spirituality and your messages and become an instrument of it, but remain in control of it, not become instrumentalised by it but make it instrumental for you. That will probably, or apparently, not make you (appear) very enchanted or happy, as is seemingly the case within the religious/spiritual enthusiast. You will be neutral most of the time. Some say the tragic of the truly spiritual/religious man is that he neither truly lives in this world nor the next. That may appear so, but the center of the Nirvana means you perfectly live in both of them worlds – a condition that, due to its essential strangeness, often leads to essential confusion. Essential confusion is the essential state of the true philosopher.
(Iron Maiden sing in Hallowed Be Thy Name that, facing death, you will realise that „life down here is just a strange illusion“. Therefore, what I just said above, advanced as it is nevertheless, may also just be a bizarre illusion, but this is so because as long as you wander through the world and your mind is wandering you have some attachments. Therefore, no need to worry. That´s how subjectivity is constituted. Via some attachments my subjectivity has been constituted in the past and now, in the present, by some others. Apart from that, we´re rather hollow. That´s how the story goes, that´s what is „the flow“, as long as the world concerns you to some degree. At the end of Jim Jarmusch´s Dead Man, as Nobody sends „William Blake“ to his last journey on a boat to the sea, he smiles at him and says: This world will no longer concern you (in German: Von nun an wird dich diese Welt nichts mehr angehen). Dead Man has one of the most epic endings of any film. When I am going to die, I also want to float away like this – and to experience my loss of attachments. That is not a great effort of course when you die. However, see it as a message from the future and a glimpse of insight. The world actually only partially concerns me.)
Liberating oneself from a cycle of rebirths might seem irrelevant to the non-believer. But nirvana is a radical undertaking: it represents a liberation from an endless cycle of rebirth; or liberation from the utterly human, persistent desire for things to be different. There is something useful there for anyone http://ow.ly/VdHt30jVzbi
„Das höchste Gefühl von Macht und Sicherheit kommt in dem zum Ausdruck, was großen Stil hat. Die Macht, die keinen Beweis mehr nötig hat; die es verschmäht, zu gefallen; die schwer antwortet; die keinen Zeugen um sich fühlt; die ohne Bewusstsein davon lebt, dass es Widerspruch gegen sie gibt; die in sich ruht, fatalistisch, ein Gesetz unter Gesetzen: Das redet als großer Stil von sich.“
Philip Hautmann Wer ein funktionierendes Hirn hat, hat sowieso immer Stil und muss das auch nicht über Schreibschulen u.dergl. erlernen bla bla (wie jeder weiß). Das letzte, wozu Stil kommen kann, der transzendente Stil, der Blick in den Chaosmos, er erfasst die Totalität und ist daher psychosenah, aber bei vollkommen klarem Verstand, es ist die Super Sanity, man hat das in hervorragendster Weise bei Büchner (Lenz), Lautréamont (Maldoror), Rimbaud (Leuchtende Bilder), an und für sich auch bei Shakespeare; und, ach, die absolute Beweglichkeit der Sprache auf diesem, letzten, Plateau!, ich habe es anderswo als die Decke bezeichnet der absoluten Empathie mit der Welt, lückenlos wahrgenommen; sagen wir, das Gefühle des Triumphs auf diesem unachtfechtbarsten aller Niveaus sich irgendwie verflüchtigen, wie alles andere irgendwie auch, die Persönlichkeit z.B., übrig bleibt eine Anordnung von virtuellen Schalen, die sich gegenseitig enthalten oder spiegeln, so ist das dann halt: die Übereinanderlagerung von allem und wenn man alles gleichzeitig sieht; der Mensch ist ausgeschaltet bzw. verliert sich in und transzendiert sich über die Übereinanderlagerungen seiner inneren Bezirke, so dass das Ich faktisch nicht mehr ganz existiert; der Stil setzt sich über die Explosionen in sich selbst und wird perfekt wie Sand (mikrogranular und gleichgültig gegenüber Interventionen von außen), das ethische Bewusstsein wird vollkommen; im Wesentlichen fühlt man sich so ein bisschen wie ein Geist – aber wie soll man sich anders fühlen, wenn man das Ziel erreicht und ganz Geist geworden ist? Was hat das mit dem Leben noch zu tun – nichts und alles, und die Bücher sind für alle und keinen. – Ich wiederhole mich, aber das verdient sich doch immer wieder gesagt zu werden und jedes Mal kommt ja auch irgendwas Neues dazu etc. und wie viele gibt es schon, die so was zu sagen vermögen? also ist das gut, dass es hier wieder gesagt wird; auf jeden Fall: Groß und Klein, Macht und Ohnmacht etc. verliert an Bedeutung, spiegeln sich ineinander wieder, im Auge Gottes, ein blauer Strahl schießt jetzt neben mir auf, ich liege auf der Straße, als Ohnmächtiger und bewege mich in allen möglichen Schemen etc. Die Gleichzeitigkeit von Virtualität und Aktualität. Irrationale Zahl. Das Hyperset.
Recently I bought me some books, anthologies by female Christian mystics Mechthild of Magdeburg, Teresa of Avila and Marguerite Porete (as well as male Christian mystic Dionysius the Areopagite (although Dionysius probably also was a woman, since his true identity remains obscure – therefore s/he is also commonly referred to as Pseudo-Dionysius)). Mysticism strives for the unio mystica, the becoming one with deity through purification of personality (which is therefore often a nuisance to clerics, since it undermines the authority of the church as intermediary between man´s world and the divine: especially Mechthild had no easy life and Marguerite was sentenced to death by the Inquisition). Especially both Teresa and Marguerite were talking about stages of enlightenment, in the highest form the soul becomes a medium of divine perception. Teresa said, God can be understood as a diamond, greater than the entire world, where everything can be seen, and in which she happened to see herself and her actions at incredibly speed and heavily concentrated (leaving her a bit embarassed to see her noble deeds as well as her sins without any true distance from each other). Such a soul has been touched by the divine light. Yet, interestingly, both Teresa and Marguerite say that seeing the divine light is just a short flash, that may happen only once or a few times in life. Full unio mystica, i.e. becoming one with the divine light, is only possible after death, in this life the soul is to still remain in the body and to wander the earth, and also the fully developed mystic still remains, in parts, an earthly, human creature that is object of suffering and possible setbacks. – I am somehow relieved to hear that from such distinguished persons, since I was thinking that my own enlightenment was incomplete. Furthermore, I see there seems to be no use in expecting anything more than that, to achieve an entire clear (of complete balancedness): No hope = no fear. Bucke wrote in his book about Cosmic Consciousness about the white light, and also Colin Wilson wrote about it in The Outsider. Colin Wilson saw the white light too at a young age, and he said all his life has been a strive to bring back that moment. I also saw the white light when I was writing my second book, I thought, compared to the epiphanies described by those people mine was a weak epiphany, but I think indeed it was a higher one, since I am more rational than they are/were. Bucke said, of all the enlightened people in history Walt Whitman was the only true (highly modern) individual that did not fall prey or become an instrument of his divine perception, but rather turned it into an instrument for himself. I think I also remain in control (if I am not mistaken about my enlightenment at any rate). I called this form of enlightened perception the White Lodge, as readers of my convulsions may now know. (Dionysius the Areopagite spoke of God as a „dark light“ that illuminates the earth, but that can be truly seen only through his absence to the obvious gaze. A deep bass I connect synaeasthetically with the headlight of this dark light).
White Light from the Mouth of Infinity is a major album by Swans. It combines the most outstanding songwriting, majestic elegy, triumphantly arranged, with extremely depressing lyrics. The cover is one the coolest I´ve ever seen. On the front you have a human rabbit, reaching out his carrot antenna at the end of the world, likely in search for someone else, his soulmate, his counterpart. On back you have him eventually have found him. I wrote to Jarboe many years ago and mentioned the album and the artwork, she was asking in return whether I want to purchase the original artwork „at a reasonable price“. But I could not afford it anyway. In my apartment there is a poster of it, hanging on the wall nevertheless.
Wir wollen also sagen, die Gottheit sei wie ein überaus klarer Diamant, der weit größer ist als die ganze Welt, oder ein Spiegel nach der Art desjenigen, welcher in der früher gedachten Vision die Seele empfing, nur dass er auf eine weit erhabenere Weise sich zeigte; auf eine Weise, die ich nicht hoch genug vorzuführen vermag und dass alles, was wir tun, in diesem Diamanten gesehen wird, so gesehen wird, dass er alles in sich schließt, und weil es nichts gibt, was über diese Größe hinausgeht.
Staunenswert war es für mich, in so kurzer Zeit so vieles in diesem klaren Diamanten nebeneinander zu erblicken. Höchst bedauerlich ist es mir andererseits jedes Mal, wie so garstige Dinge, wie es meine Sünden sind, sich in jener klaren Lauterkeit ebenfalls darstellten. Gewiss, wenn ich daran denke, weiß ich nicht, wie ich es ertragen kann. Deshalb wurde ich auch mit Scham erfüllt, dass ich nicht wusste, wohin ich mich wenden sollte…
Teresa von Avila
I like the name Piet Mondrian. It is like an oval spheroid, self-saturated, self-contained, stabilising itself in his own harmony. A rippling, a wave, a self circuit that does not spread confusion or butterfly effects in the universe but that comfortably leads back again to its own start, to be explored again. Piet Mondrian. Indeed, Piet Mondrian was one of the leading proponents of making harmony great again in art. Look at the immersion of mind, progressively plunging into deep reality, to finally see the movement of primal/eternal forms, to give rise to new concepts and frameworks in order to communicate and understand reality, getting into closer touch with it! See how he starts as a naturalist painter, occasionally flirting with impressionism, portraying quiet nature or quiet people! Gradually the fire of deep reality litting eleven poplars, the woods near Oele, red cloud in the sky, devotie becoming more intense, apple trees becoming more semi-abstractly distinguished from as well as embedded in the background, the windmills as evocation of silent materiality increasingly on fire and finally a triumphant semi-abstract red mill (leading critics to denounce such paintings as „insane“)! In accordance to Mondrian´s thinking inspired by theosophy the evolution of (wo)man as a hypercycle! Then, in his peculiar adaption of cubism nature made of eccentric lines and curves, until the basic raster of reality of geometric lines finally breaks through (most perfect in Composition VI), then loosens its own grip (Composition 10), then becomes replaced by somehow moving rectangles/colour fields, until you finally have impersonal geometric grids (that would alienate critics and cubists from such an approach)! At that time and point of immersion, Mondrian was alienated from the art scene, devoid of success and unsure how to progress further (and he thought about giving up art and becoming a sailor then). With the help of friends he was lucky to find a humble but steady income nevertheless and in deep doubt how to progress further the final breakthrough happened into his signature paintings made of lines, rectangles and colour fields over white ground! Kind of „last paintings that can be made“ the possibilities of movement within such basic scenario are vivid; in the 1930s his paintings would often become even more minimalistic. In his final period, when he moved to London and eventually to New York, the geometry of New York would provide new inspirations, the grid becoming deep and threedimensional or vibrating in its own fractal intensity to the Broadway Boogie Woogie – the calm and calculated Mondrian also was a big fan of jazz and a vivid dancer, likely not only for Dionysian reasons but also as an adherent of the eccentric and moving/shifting geometry expressed in jazz (indeed, Mondrian was both an ascetic monk as well as a hedonist, in both respects at peace with himself and balanced in himself). As a theorist, Mondrian was an eminent and influential figure of the De Stijl movement (although it should be noted that other members of De Stijl like Theo van Duesburg and Bart van der Leck were very influential upon Mondrian). Like suprematism in Russia, De Stijl was striving for expression of harmony and perfection. In Mondrian´s understanding, art was not about the „self expression“ of an artist, but a striving for expressing that which is universal, and eternal (and therefore harmonious). As such, as a seeker for deep reality, who wants to see through things, in order to investigate the thing-in-itself, Mondrian was a metaphysical artist. At his time, Mondrian had to acknowledge that religion as the sphere of the universal had become superseded. Instead, a protean modern subject had come into power as well as an impersonal technology that facilitates, standardises and explosively increases productivity and the possibilities of man. Like other abstractionists, Mondrian saw abstraction as the possibility to express the metaphysics of a modern, industrialised age – but he hoped that within that process of amalgamation or dialectics, a more concrete subject would come into being, a man that is fully matured, who is able to reflect and internalise the forces of protean subjectivity and technology and is not alienated by them: that is, then, the new, and final universal (or, the overman, if you want). In order to master a transgression like this, art had to supersede to be spiritual by expressing the tragic of human experience but had to become intellectual via a purified intellect – and Mondrian´s artistic endeavours can be understood as an undertaking of purifying the intellect. In that respect, Mondrian also said his art was about the expression of pure relation and pure relationships between things (as, so to say, the network of reality). As, in reality, relationships between things can never be seen directly but only concealed, the task of the artist is to directly express those relationships: in the pure form, the relationship between the thing and the other thing is a square angle (and the emanations of reality colour fields). That is the primal geometry of the world (respectively the mind that looks at it). The Universal means the unification or concilliation of object and subject, respectively, as Mondrian deals with it, of the thing and the other thing. Harmony is established when object and subject, the thing and the other thing are reconciled. Like in the works of his fellow compatriot Vincent van Gogh, trees have been a prominent subject in the (earlier) paintings of Mondrian, allegedly symbolising the solitary artist, in his serenity and timelessness. While van Gogh can be said to have been a Dionysian painter, Mondrian was Apollonian. While Vincent´s letters were maniac and passionate, Mondrian´s self-reflection was expressed in the mode of calculated and methodological essays. While Vincent was expressing the sensational character of the world, or of his mind, directly, Mondrian expressed them indirectly. In the white ground of his paintings, where lines and surfaces are erected, you have the white noise of possibilities in which everything is contained …. Remember that I called the space where you are surrounded by white nebulaic light, where ideological and doctrinal segregation between things have broken down and you have pure and universal perception the White Lodge. And indeed, the White Lodge can also be seen as a space of the possibility of pure relations. It is the space of the beginning and the end, of the Alpha and Omega, where subject and object, the thing and the other thing are reconciled as waves within the continuum that is the White Lodge. Mondrian´s signature paintings can be understood as expressions of a white Nirvana, they can also be understood as expressing the geometry of the White Lodge.
Although he is considered the major Netherlandic painter of the 20the century, Mondrian remained relatively poor during his lifetime. He never married. When he happened to have success and his reputation increasing, he would perplex people and lose his reputation again as he would become more experimental again and moving to new territories. I find it very sad not to have found an extensive biography of him, but he also destroyed letters and traces from his past later in life as he became confortable with maintaining his image as an impersonal „art monk“ so that it seems a bit difficult to distinguish how much of this was motivated by constructing an image (which is, nevertheless, likely of a greater necessity also in the most venerable regions of human endeavour in order to make oneself a circulating unit) or simply the truest and the natural form of Mondrian himself. I have read elsewhere that there are no indications that Mondrian had a lot of humour, contrary to many humorists he never gave up his enduring optimism about the arrival of the universal man. Later in his life at peace he had been very much at peace with himself and he never gave up hope. In preparing this note I have read however that it would frequently happen that people reluctant or in opposition against Mondrian´s paintings sooner or later have an epiphany how harmonious and calming those paintings are, radiating inner peace. Art dealer Sidney Janis said in his career he had met only two artists who did „not feel compelled to defend their own vision against that of others“, who were vastly tolerant and balanced, therefore, in a way, im/transpersonalised truth seekers: One was Duchamp, the other one was Mondrian. In the valuable book „Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts“ (edited by Ingo F. Walther) the conclusion about Mondrian was that although his mature paintings seem to be easy, hardly any artist is more difficult to imitate or to forge than Mondrian. Of all the artists of De Stijl who were striving for harmony, Mondrian (they said) was the only one to have actually achieved it.
More recently I purchased the following CDs:
I welcome it that after a period of stagnation there are fresh and fruitful developments in extreme metal again! While extreme metal bands of former generations like Morbid Angel or Meshuggah sounded like if they came from another planet, bands like Abyssal, Pyrrhon or Mitochondrion sound as if they directly came from the depths of outer space (maybe from close to the region where Azathoth dwells). I call this progressive. Within those song structures we have nice chaos invocation and abstract beauty amalgamated with uncanniness giving an impression of the sublime. It gives you a sense of place – of belonging and forlornness. Of your attachedness and your seperatedness in the universe, etc. It´s a borderline, exurbia and edge phenomenon; look at how ambiguous it is and how much enigmatic meaning it carries, permanently shifting the Great Frontier! It´s metaphysical.
What I always liked about extreme metal is that it definitely confronts you with other, strange worlds (that aren´t so strange after all and for instance the occasional lyrics about Satan etc. are much more realistic and less phony than the love songs you hear on the radio). – It is both strange and surreal, and hyperrealistic and more human than human. It adds a (or multiple) dimensions to your perception. It confronts you with that that is the other and that that is unexpected. It unites the hemispheres.
Let us, ideally, say that the „Western“ mind is analytical, scientific. It is about isolating and analysing things to gain rational knowledge about the thing, with the possibility (or the permanent horizon) to get to know the „thing in itself“. It strives for knowledge to manipulate things and transform civilisation via technology. It is concerned with the possibility of solid knowledge.
Let us, ideally, say that the „Eastern“ mind, exemplified e.g. in the metaphysics of Zen, is more about getting to know and experiencing the faculty of perception and rationalisation itself. It is about dissolving the subject and amalgamating it with the object world, into a state of (for the sake of simplicity) productive mimesis. However, this state will involve serenity and sedateness, an acceptance of a certain resistance of things against manipulation and an acceptance of fate. It is concerned with the possibility of solid awareness.
Bhagwan says, people in the East have soft, fragmentary egos, and they are able to surrender and devotion (Hingabe) easily – yet their surrender is not very deep: it remains superficial. People of the West have strong and solid egos, and they are resistant towards surrender and spirituality. He concludes that a person that synthesises East and West may become something that is really interesting and transformative, but that is difficult.
„Eastern“ metaphysics somehow was designed as a pacification from unproductive upheaval and turmoil in a pre-scientific age i.e. when things could not fundamentally be changed. „Eastern“ metaphysics does not „solve“ the metaphysical problems but dissolves them, but unfortunately may also dissolve physics respectively the scientific mind, and its relaxedness may result in apathy, the insight that some things cannot be changed may make people forget to try to. The „Western“ metaphysics of the rational mind may lead to a tunnel vision and feelings of estrangement and disconnectedness from a greater whole, a disrespect for „soft“ sciences and arrogance. The „Eastern“ downside is being unscientific, the downside of the „West“ is being soulless. From a sociological point of view, Eastern societies are collectivist societies whereas Western societies are individualistic societies (with both easily abhoring each other or finding each other uncanny, although the productive synthesis includes the better elements of both).
THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE OVERMAN (PRODUCTIVE SYNTHESIS)
It is said East and West are very different and difficult to unite. They are respective others. However, if you approach the other you can gradually internalise it. The trick is not to make the other a toy of your ideology and accomodate it to you, but to take it serious. The full internalisation of the man´s world is the overman. It can also be described as the so-called unitary consciousness where all forms of life, where reality, dream, fiction, time, space, matter unite into a single, fluid, penetrating experience, where contours of individualities do not dissolute but become osmotic. The analytical mind is not pacified but intensified and empowered. There is not perfect exchangeability of background and motif as you have it in the vision of Zen, rather a fractal geometry of the universe, i.e. where the „deep structure“ can be progressively revealed and calculated and where there is no stubborn resistance against „inconvenient“ truths or discoveries, since nothing is truly „inconvenient“.
By permanently approaching and confronting the other, you increase your experience and widen your perception. By trying to integrate the other and internalise it, you widen your intellect and your personality, and you reduce your indoctrinations and your ego (if, however, you don´t have much of an ego in the first place). You transcend personality into the transpersonal and become open space. It is very profound.
Meaning of life – and meaning in general – lies in establishing connections (and pathological/endogenous depression means inability to establish true connections to anything). By connecting to the other, the most wide-ranging and permanently evolving connectivity is possible. Overmen usually appear „otherworldly“ (whereas they are also the most realistic persons) because they primarily relate to the other and to their respective counterpart (Socrates and Kierkegaard talked to anyone in the streets, T.W. Hickinson noticed that obscure Emily Dickinson was very aware and concerned about him as her counterpart, Shakespeare is hardly tactile as an individual but rather seems a transpersonalised consciousness over the tapestry of life, Wittgenstein, Kafka and Beckett were also very concerned about others including the possibility of self-sacrifice, etc.). Therefore, they include otherness and the Great Other in themselves and therefore they carry and execute the so-called divine law in themselves. They appear „alien“ as nothing is alien to them. And why? Because they actually relate to the other!
Postsciptum: If you think this is stupid and esoteric wait for the various Postscripts to the Metaphysical Note about Extreme Metal which shall appear over time since of course I am able to discuss Kripke and Quine as well, as well as Gadamer and Ricoeur et al.
Carl Schmitt has to be understood as a guy obsessed about order. As a young conservative intellectual in the Weimar Republic he was concerned with the question how a modern state derives its legitimacy, as the influence of religion and the church had waned, monarchies had been overthrown, no consensus and self-conception of democracy had been established and (bourgeois, capitalistic) democracy was under siege from left and right – in such a turbulent age it was actually no mean question about how the modern state could actually be grounded. After the Nazis took power, Schmitt became a member of the NSDAP and although his career suffered a major setback already in 1936, he remained „Kronjurist“ of the Third Reich. After the defeat of the Reich he ruminated, somehow enigmatically, about himself and his role in history (with important writings that expose the core of his thinking been published posthumeously). At the core, Schmitt was a conservative Catholic and his central obsession was that human action had to be grounded in the divine relevation, i.e. in the law of God. He opposed relativism, liberalism and modernity and held antisemitic views. One of his best-known concepts is that the political is about the relationship between friend and foe, and therein an autonomous, and primary, sphere of human existence. In a modern, „pacified“, democratic world, the primacy of the political would easily be forgotten, but could easily break into reality again, as a principal, fundamental conflict within the community (or between communities) of what is, fundamentally, right and what is wrong (respectively about who is friend and who is foe). As tensions mount, the sovereign could call for emergency rule (and, to Schmitt, he is the actual sovereign who can impose emergency rule). Schuh once called Schmnitt a „razor-sharp“ thinker: that is actually what he was – with the apparent consequence that Schmitt was rather not very vocal when it came to think about nuances and that plurality and vagueness are things that make up reality as well (also he was not very vocal when it came to depict what a friend is, but concentrated on outlining the qualities of the foe). In such respects, liberal, postmodern thinking is a nemesis on Schmitt – but Schmitt is also a nemesis for the liberal and postmodern approach. At any rate, Schmitt was a relevant and original political thinker – and when Kojève visited Germany once he said that he would only go to Plettenberg, as Schmitt was the only person in Germany worthy of intellectual conversation. When he was examined after the second World War about his collusion with Nazism, Schmitt describd himself to be an „intellectual adventurer“.
Leo Strauss has to be understood as someone concerned about the role of philosophy and the philosopher vs the realm of the political. That is, in fact, the central question of the oeuvre of Strauss. The political/public realm is where faith and opinions (and, notably, interests) dominate and complexity is not very well understood nor welcomed – the zeal of philosophy is to find out and establish truth (which the public sphere of course also wants and needs), hence the relation between the philosopher and the political is a potentially conflictual one: And Strauss` work mainly elaborates on that conflict in its many facets. Strauss placed great emphasis on the hermeneutic principle that a thinker has to be understood the way he understood himself – and not be abused as a toy to underline one´s own peculiar opinion. Likewise, Strauss also considered the philosopher, and the role of philosophy in the political realm, as one of questioning authority in order to search for truth, to escape from a Plato´s cave of wrong our outdated concepts and perceptions – therein, Strauss also had some reservations against political philosophy as establishing conclusive theory (that somehow longs for totalitarianism of itself and may be supportive to authority) but rather was affirmative of philosophy as a permanent questioning: Socrates was an important figure for Strauss. Strauss´ works were comments on other philosophers and he refuted „originality“ in favor of adressing the great and everlasting questions and truths which are, therefore, anonymous (he said that the gravity of a thinker does not lie in his originality but in his capability to adress the great fundamental questions). Like Schmitt, Strauss was a conservative who opposed liberalism and modernity in favor of divine revelation which alone can be absolute guidance for human action. Law also had to be based on natural law, a sentiment that includes elitism. As a community is made out of individuals of different talent, Strauss voices for a meritocracy of the most talented individuals, of „gentlemen“, as democracy leads to populism and decline – the philospher is not wanted by the hostile and envious masses, so the spirit of the philosopher has to be institutionalised by enlightened leaders. The American neoconservatives drew some inspiration from Strauss, although also Strauss, like Schmitt, is a more comphrehensive guy. Strauss commented on Schmitt´s book about the political as realm of distinction between friend and foe, largely favorable (Strauss was a Jew and Schmitt a Nazi at that time) and tried a synthesis with Hobbes´ political philosophy (i.e. that order has to be imposed on a state of virtual anarchy among humans). Both Schmitt and Strauss saw conflicts between men as something unavoidable and profound, as inescapable and out of man´s control, hence as something „metaphysical“.
The hipster cannot be adequately understood. Despite it is being claimed that this phenomenon with its allegedly striking appearance is the big thing of our time (although his heyday he may have already had in the past of the last decade), I cannot sense it so easily. I deliberately walked through hipsteresque places like Neubau or the Museumsquartier recently again, and then there is also the Brunnenmarkt or the Karmelitermarkt and stuff, and although it is frequently quite fancy there, I cannot see stereotypical hipsters (supposedly with beards, undercuts etc.) there, nor even bobos (Vienna is, of course, not a hipster capital like Berlin or, as they say, Portland, Oregon, but if I understand this correct we are talking about a cultural phenomenon that has allegedly spread at least over the Western world). Of course, I do not see hipsters, nor people in general, I only see Buddhas when I look into the world =“> And it annoys me how negativistic people are of each other: Georg opens a new bar and S. and O. and, and, and… spread negativity: Look at the shitty bobo bar! – although it is a quite casual bar and not specifically boboesque! Such a thing happens all the time among humans! – Of course, upon reflection, I also do not feel completely at home in diverse fancy places, although they are not hipsteresque to me; as far as I can see it is where a younger and relatively educated audience dwells, which, however, cannot be subsumed to be bobo or hipster – with the indication that the bobo and the hipster do not actually exist. I find it sad that I do not have a true overview over the social realm, but if someone claims he has, it might just be a hallucination, for instance people complaining about other people, that they are under par where, in reality, they just do not conform to their worldview, the old generation complaining about the youth, and the like… What I hear about the young generation is that they are indeed unpolitical and quite focused about their career and their looks and their lifestyle. It is not a rebellious but quite conformist youth (which doesn´t mean that such a thing would be completely wrong). Bertl, who is a bit older than me but studies at the university now claims there isn´t much to conversate with the youngsters: Though they are pessimistic about the future, they are optimistic about their personal future (which might be accurate) and, in general, „bei denen geht´s um nichts mehr“. They are not rebels, do not adress society at all, like we did, they are private and bourgeois and they do not have any message to tell. – Then there is this thing called hipster black metal! I also cannot sense the vital ingredients of metal – like obscurity, challenging attitude, schizotypal creativity, antisocial stance, outsiderdom and individuality et al. – in there. It is (hipsteresque) independent musicians that have conquered some metal style but do not transport a metal message! It is, obviously, about individuality, but not about an obscure and rebellious, truly schizotypal individuality of the outsider! It does happen at some fancy, elitist margins of society, not outside society, like a concert of a true band like Rotten Sound or Brutal Truth. Hence, it is not actually a metal culture. (Note also that the hipster does not want to be a hipster and when he asked whether he is one, he will decline.)
If we try to understand the hipster however, we refer to the common narrative of the hipster being someone who tries to pronounce his fancy individuality in a millenial age. He is, and wants to be, socially included as well as excluded. In reality, he is socially included and has no desire for true outsiderdom although usually comes up with such a style as a means of elitist, dandyesque destinction. He is avant-gardist as he longs to be the first to spot new, fancy trends and he wants to be cool. He usually does not create art but longs to work in the „creative industry“ and likes to see himself rather like a curator or an initiated consumer of art. He embraces both high and (supposedly) low level art and culture, is heterogenous and eclectic, but not as a natural manifestation of true creativity but as a means of distinction. He opposes the „mainstream“, not because of the void it carries but because he wants to be special. He is not very political and career-motivated – which need not be a bad thing, but often is. He is flexible and, actually, gas-like, as he does not stick to anything in substance and everything becomes exchangeable and disposable to him and he does away with things when they cease to be regarded as „cool“. As he is not fundamentalist, he is ironic – in a likeable way as irony is intelligent, resisitant to a totalitarian and absolutist sentiment and pluralistic, and unlikeable as it runs against true commitment and true intelligence which is about sorting the real thing out. Despite his ironic attitude, the hipster may be quite arrogant or at least blasé (like the avant-gardist or dandy, but without creating true elite culture). He cares about quality of food and may open up fancy restaurants (which is also a plus) but may not care much about animal rights. Sociologically, the hipster may be interpreted as an expression of a homogenisation of society because of increasingly blurred traditional (class) distinctions and stratifications (i.e. the hipster actually being bourgeois, bohemian and exploited proletarian all alike) while, however, distinctions and stratifications are still in place (and are, on the one hand, denied, but also fiercely affirmed and established by the hipster). In terms of gender the somehow feminine/androgynous appearance of the hipster signifies the softening of traditional gender roles. Someone has said, with his zeal for individuality, the hipster is an expression that true individuality is less and less common (or more and more difficult to achieve, or that true or aristocratic individuality or genius is not what is wanted in our time). – As far as I can see there are friendly hipster (?) bars/shops etc. with extremely friendly hipsters (usually females) as well as there are arrogant and unfriendly ones. I recently read a book by Philipp Ikrath (Die Hipster) in which he ruminated that the hipster (who is a youngster now but may occupy positions of power in society in the future i.e. be the coming ruling class and therefore is a relevant object to study) with his non-binding nature is the end of all politics – as solidified positions do not really matter anymore and everything becomes exchangeable, politics in the traditional (and, maybe, any) sense loses its meaning or at least significance. And that was the main motive for writing this note as it sprang to my mind how this would relate to a view on politics as we have it with Schmitt (and Strauss)!
To philosophise about the hipster, Ikrath comes up with Richard Rorty´s ideal type of the ironic. Opposed to the metaphysicist, who sticks to a concept of absolute truth that governs it all and of life being subjected to subjugate to that absolute truth, including the possibility of personal sacrifice, the ironic denies that there ever is such an absolute truth. Which does not mean that the ironic is a nihilist, just that he would refute absolutist claims. The ironic is constructivistic, embraces plurality and is lenient and tolerant. He is aware of the relativity of all being, and there is no „jargon der eigentlichkeit“ as something the metaphysicist strives for so deeply. Irony works against usurpation and absorption (Vereinnahmung), also against oneself´s possible claims of usurpation, on the other hand there may be a loss of standards, liability, resposibility and true commitment. So much for the philosophy of/about the hipster.
Think of, now, how especially Carl Schmitt would react and what he would do if confronted with someone like the hipster! – I had to smile into myself when I read Ikrath´s book, and the rumination that the hipster is the end of all politics: Indeed, Schmitt with his pronouced (and, I guess, somehow narcissistic and edgy) friend-foe dichotomy and his admiration for hard and sharp decisions! How would he try to grasp the hipster when the hipster is evaporating, or just innocently smiling to him, like a different life form, and then innocently escape like a colourful and innocent butterfly from Schmitt´s angry and nervous grasp, with his latent indecisiveness and not actually knowing pronounced friend and foe demarcations as he embraces everything that is cool at the moment and just opposes anything that is uncool, without regard to the substance so that things are all the time in flux? Schmitt was vocal against „the Romantic“ i.e. a kind of aetheste who is fond of the colourful multifacetedness of the world and his own genius subjectivity that embraces this colourful multifacetedness without, however, engaging into the realm of authentic decisions (i.e. the realm of politics) – there is some allusion to the hipster in there. While such an existence may be pleasant for itself and intense, the political life is actually more intense since it is about profound decisions. In general, the self-empowerment of man is to Schmitt the original sin, and through his eyes the constructivistic hipster with his genius subjectivity may be a false replacement of the true God (again, without however possibly the hipster ever coming up with such an idea and therefore being very confused about Schmitt). Schmitt and Strauss are „metaphysicists“ par excellence and directly opposed to the ironic (hipster). Both were opposed to modernity and the state of bourgeois „security“, i.e. that life has become merely a quest for a pleasant, consumerist life. Both thought that would deprive man of his true inner essence, and of his nobility. A central idea/sentiment of Schmitt was that there should be space for the „anspruchsvolle moralische Entscheidung“ (sophisticated/challenging ethical decision) in which the individual reveals his competence and nobility. Unfortunately, in the case of Schmitt his „anspruchsvolle ethische Entscheidung“ was joining the NSDAP, and his quest for a „Jargon der Eigentlichkeit“ made him, and others like Heidegger or Marinetti, prone to suspect that „authenticity“ and profoundness in Nazism/fascism because they thought that within modernist „confusion“ it is a „real“ thing. Strauss will not be likely to view the hipster as an elitist „gentleman“ who should govern, I guess he would be unhappy about the hipster, yet probably more interesting and open-minded in what he would have to say about the hipster. If I am correct, Schmitt admitted that modern democracy and the Weimar Republic in fact weren´t so bad after all. And, under neoliberalism, the hipster does not actually live in a state of „security“.
A while ago I started to write my fourth work of literature, „Die Reise nach Süden“ (Journey to the South) which is about a dream-like scenario in which I, the genius writer, am commissioned by transcendent authorities to go to Ebelsberg/exurbia of the town in the south to teach the people there „the word“, some kind of ominous lesson (I have not yet figured out, and I also stopped writing on it soon thereafter since time and the book market isn´t ripe for a work like the Journey anyway – and me neither (since the message probably will be my final conclusion about life at all which I have not reached so far)). In this place, people live in three blocks of flats, there is an eternal day; it is, allegedly, the end of culture and the triumph of pleasant civilisation, where nothing meaningful about man can be said and no meaningful culture and art is possible anymore. An allusion that may be to Nietzsche´s „last man“ (and Schmitt, Strauss and others say respectively on that behalf), a type of man whose goal is to live a pleasant life, in a levelled, homogenous society, and who is culturally impotent since he does not want to transcend himself anymore and to bring sacrifices to his art; a human being that has lost his connex to a greater cause, or to a great other (be it God, the nation, communism or transcendant art), solely revolving around himself and harmless self-actualisation devoid of true substance, as the triumph of Western enlightenment (people from more collectivist societies may critisise it from a collectivist sentiment). You have „Ich-Verpanzerung“, that Schmitt depsises (and human subjectivity, for itself, if it does not relate to something bigger than itself, is actually in a number of cases quite feeble). – Nietzsche however said that the last man will be a kind of negative of the overman, and in the realm of the last man there will be the incipit Zarathustra. Let us assume that the overman will be a genius subjectivity that embraces the colourful multifacetedness of the world (the „Romantic“, as described by Schmitt) and will be above politics, yet also able of „anspruchsvolle moralische Entscheidung“ as he embodies the quasi-divine law, as he naturally sticks to what is right and opposes what is wrong, socratically, as he does not have a particular ideology and is an ironic as well as a metaphysicist all alike (since the relative and the absolute mirror each other in a multifaceted and occasionally contradictory realm of being and absolute moral asks for some moral relativism, etc.) (Kierkegaard, an overman, was both a staunch metaphysicist as well as a distinct ironic, which confused people so much that they slightly began to understand him only thirty years after his death). Concerning real dichotomies and the question of friend and foe he will acknowledge that in the human realm and as a motive and movens in history you have both (as probably metaphysical categories, as Schmitt said), but he will, as the wise man, and as the Weltgeist (= as the virtual fulfillment of history) never speak himself out of hostility (as Kojève wrote in letter to Schmitt (without however going as far as to reflect that question on the overman). He will stabilise himself in his own complexity and, as he embraces all otherness, he will be his own Great Other within himself.
Neither the hipster nor the metaphysicist nor the ironic nor the overman are completely there in reality, they are some kind of abstractions and ideal types with which we can philosophise about relationships between things and write casual-serious notes like this one.
Like Kafka, Wittgenstein, Emily Dickinson, Bodhidharma or Heinrich von Kleist, Socrates was an overman. The overman is someone who is affected by the totality of human/existential problems – the extreme quasi-nervous affectedness and being agitated by the totality of human/existential problems is quasi the essence of the overman – and handles them at the highest level of analysis and integration (commonly referred to as the meta level). Being the conscious reflection of the totality of sets of human/existential affairs, he is the hyperset. Think of some kind of smoke emerging from the flat surface of the populated earth, in apparent serenity, and diffusing into the air, as a cloud of smoke, then gradually diffusing into ever more transparency, and you have the overman (for instance, as a mental image that may come to mind). No one will be more located and more dislocated on earth than the overman! No one will find human/existential affairs more silly and absurd and not be affected by them, and no one will clinge to them with greater sincerity and gravity and be more affected by them. No one (unfortunately) will escape the grasp/embrace of institutions and institutional logic more, but also recognise the depth and profoundness of institutions and of the law like no one else does than the overman (with Melville for instance being the only honest and uncorrupted person in his office in which he had to work after his career as a writer came to an end due to human ineptitude). At some point there will also be some coolness towards the science, philosophical, escatological stuff, as at the overman level there is not so much anymore at stake and as he has become medium and instrument of sticking to escatological etc stuff, and that is enough – science and philosophy and the growth of knowledge will go on, fractal-like, the individual overman cannot foresee what will be 3000 years in the future, at any rate he will not be surprised by it and that is what matters. He lives both in the Weltzeit and in the Heilszeit – respectively in what I called a while ago the Continuum (of the spiritual essences of the great ideas of man). As he clinges to truth, he becomes depersonalised and objectified. As he finds out, establishes and holds truth, he becomes transpersonalised and extremely idiosyncratic in his subjectivity. The nebulousness of ego allows a much higher level of psychological integration. Due to his fluidity, the overman might clash with the man´s (intractable) world.
Socrates was put on trial at the age of seventy for „corrupting the young“ and „not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel“. To understand this, specifically, one has to know that – as one of the odds that usually characterise societies and that may become contradictory in critical situations – Athens at that time was a very rational and progressive, democratic society – but also very traditional when it came to clinging to its own religion and mythology; in that respect Athens was backward to more peripheral regions of Greece or Asia Minor (which probably triggered feelings of inferiority within a superiority complex) and Socrates was not the first person to be put on trial for religious reasons, there had been examples before. Five years before Socrates´ trial, Athens had suffered defeat in the Peloponnesian War which triggered insecurity among the population, conservatism and hostility towards experiments and a challenging, adventurous spirit like that personified by Socrates. The main prosecutor, Anytos, obviously was free from mean-spirited motives, but actually believed Socrates to be a danger to religion and social cohesion. More generally, Socrates explains in his apology how his quest for truth, sincerity and human betterment had to a significant degree always been met with hostility and envy by those whose feebleness he exposed and, as such, cannot be turned into anything better („to his grief and to his heartache“ he found out that he made himself unpopular by the learned and educated as he exposed their lack of substance, and, furthermore, that the common people – whom the intellectual outsider may come to regard as more pure and authentic than the pretentious intellectuals – in reality are not any better – and neither are the artists). Socrates´ tragedy was that in his quest for grace of man he put disgrace over many people. Someone like Socrates stands in a certain opposition to society, that may become lethal. – After Socrates was sentenced to death his friend Crito tried to persuade him to flee. Socrates, however, refused. The main argument was that in doing so he would cease to be a law-abiding citizen, and even if the law may be(come) problematic or conflictual, the law is older than the individual, an order ancestral and higher to the individual that should not be refuted for egoic motives (other aspects were that Socrates would lose his dignity if, as a 70 year old philosopher, he was so obsessed with living a couple of years more, in a foreign polis, where he likely would not be taken serious and also had spilled his reputation among the people of Athens further; as at the trial he did not try to defend himself by appeasing the others but only by holding on to the truth he would now have to bear the consequences) – on the whole, Socrates` legacy as a philosopher and wise man and as an icon would not have been as powerful and uncorrupted if he had followed Crito´s advise, indeed. Socrates died as he lived, hence his spirt became immortal.
Philosophy does not mean that someone possesses all wisdom, it means love for wisdom, and with his unpersonal clinging to truth itself, Socrates is the archetype of philosopher. Finding out and holding on to truth and knowledge and being virtuous can be seen as ends in themselves and to make up for a happy (probably socially excluded, but also self-contained) life. It is an eudaemonia. Philosophy, as a quest for virtue and truth, finally is a matter of the individual, and can finally only be reached by exceptional individuals, for a personal, subjective goal as well as for a general, objective one. Philosophy is transindividual, transsocial, and transpolitical. Philosophy can make guidance for the human/political realm but, to a certain degree, is likely to be at odds with the demands of the political sphere – pure philosophy cannot be executed in matters of politics and neither can philosophy purely be attributed to the human/political/social realm without losing its edge and sincerity (as Socrates said in his apology, he could have not remained a virtuous man if he had become a politician). These are, to some degree, heterogenous realms. In the human realm, and in political entities, you have a certain primacy of people holding to faith and to opinions, to ideologies and to emotions (not only necessarily among the populace but also among those who govern), and the philosopher, with his quest for unideological truth, is a kind of intruder who may not be properly understood and, moreover, met with jealousy, envy and hostility, as he does not flatter people´s egos. The fluidity of the philosopher meets an intractable world – and probably not without reason, since it may be the philosopher who, with his colourful mind, is detached from (a drab) reality.
Politics is about regulating and managing the affairs of people that live together in a community. It means balancing the interests of individuals and groups to which they belong. The interest of people and groups usually revolves around enabling a good life for themselves, accomodating the world to their respective worldview and maximising their profit (Will to Power, as Nietzsche remarks). In doing so, individuals and groups may be at odds with each other, how they are balanced then is a matter of their respective power (where the power attributed to them can a personal one, or attributed to them due to anonymous, unpersonal matters of fact, for instance changes in technology that produce „winners“ and „losers“). A good political system is where a maximum number of people benefit, where there are just rewards and power/interest balancing is uncorrupted and impersonal. A good political system seeks to reproduce itself at a higher level of quality (and also taking the interests of foreign communities in account). Such a community will believe in itself and act in a disciplined way and the common good will be achieved. A political system is, at first, about accomodating people´s material interests – but also emotional and ideogical aspects are important and somehow „transpolitical“ or metapolitical. They are about how a community understands itself and how social cohesion can be established. A community is based on a feeling of togetherness (Wir-Gefühl), and where such a feeling of togetherness erodes it is likely to become a political problem and to undermine trust in the political system or the whole trust a society is based on (note that such an erosion of Wir-Gefühl need not be a direct problem for the individual or a social problem, as for instance the Islam of immigrants need not affect anyone in Europe but themselves, but will be articulated as a political problem of identity politics). The ancestral is a primary source of identity. Nationalism, religion, ideas like „liberté, egalité, fraternité“, communism, being a member of Nato or a neutral state, etc. are such ideological/mental brackets, whose sources need not necessarily be a simple emotion, but heavily involve emotions, amalgamate emotions, interest and rationalisation and reduce complexity. They are a substitute for the philosopher´s usual awareness of feeling integrated into a greater whole of a (transcendent) order, and they are not necessarily an extension of a person´s ego, but of the persons´s heart and mind. Therefore, such mentalities are important to people and important when it comes to political discourse (and, as rulers know (?), in the name of „religion“, „the nation“ and the like it is relatively easy to make people bring sacrifices or even sacrifice their own lives, whereas altruism or reason per se are not). Political discourse is relevant as, in a maybe-contrast to the wise man who prefers inner mono/dialogue, people like to talk, usually all day long. It is vital for them to talk and chat and make themselves feel know-all. Eventually, such attachments to mentalities/ideologies/cultures, designed to embed the individual in a greater, meaningful whole, are, to some degree, also an alienation of the individual or a diversion from his own emptiness, as the understanding of people of the ideologies they clinge to or may even defend with tooth and nail usually is feeble and shallow and phraseological: Socrates, who clinged to nothing but the truth, even at the cost of his own life, exposed that – incipit tragoedia. The philosopher, however, has the power to give new meaning to the human realm or the specific requirements of his age and plays therefore a vital role in the history of mankind, be it an asynchronous one.
All people are equal, and no one ever is (and thus Thus Spake Zarathustra a „Book for All and None“). Lacan once said in an interview the „average Joe“ would not exist to him, respectively is not something he could observe in reality – as all people that consult him as a therapist and doctor do so because of very specific and individual problems that are their own. The overman´s problems are also problems for all and none. Basically, the overman is the individual in its own idiosyncracy and trying to make sense out of it. In so far, as one never is a complete conformist, free from alienation, sorrow or things that personally matter to oneself, somehow always is a bit detached from society and is born and dies alone, and in between tries to make sense out of his own, there´s an overman quality in everyone. Eventually, the overman is the perfect individual and full realisation of human potential, hence transhuman, and very eccentrically located in society. – There may be the question about how politics among a population of overmen-geniuses would be. Contrary to what one might think, geniuses often are not particularly fond of each other if they inhabitate the same space/time. Maybe for low reasons (jealousy and the like) or disagreement, but also because they think that they have to protect their own work and their own message from the message of the fellow genius, as an act of more or less legitimate self-defense. The overman however will not be very apt to have a specific message to transmit to mankind at all, since he´s too comprehensive and transgressive. The overman will like to put intellectual things/messages at disposal. Let us say the defining characteristic of the genius is originality – i.e. there´s some self-referentiality in it which might clash with other self-referentialities. The characteristics of the overman are openness, humility and humour, i.e. characteristics that evade everything. Whether there can be war and hostility between overmen cannot be said, since they are too infrequent and hardly ever have the possibility to meet personally in their lifetime. They are alive and well in the Continuum (in the Q-Continuum of the Star Trek series btw, a habitat for some kind of overmen, there has been a civil war once nevertheless upon a question that is actually undecidable based on logics but can only be decided via personal preferences (the question whether it would make sense for the nearly divine Q to make contact with other species at all, or not) – consider that individuality seperates us from each other, hence is potentially conflitctual, and also that the persistent and hard problems usually are dilemmas, i.e. they cannot be solved but only managed, or, as Kissinger says, politics is a choice between two evils, so that there is actually not so much hope that between overmen such things would be completely absent). Great thinkers, as is usually observed, carry contradictions – and it may be the privilege of a great thinker to carry contraditions – respectively the internal consistency of their stuff is usually achieved by excluding stuff that happens in reality nevetheless (external consistency) – the overman will not carry contradictions, due to omniscience, fluid psychology and clinging to unpersonal truth (hence Socrates did not carry contradictions). As he encircles the earth however, the overman might be not very communicative and (in contrast to the example of Socrates) hate long conversations. So that a community of overmen might rather resemble Mycroft´s Diogenes Club in the Sherlock Holmes series. – Nietzsche however was right to criticise morals, the law, religion, institutions etc., not least if they may produce shit like the Socrates trial, and he was right that they require a truly fundamental critique: In his deep affection for everything that is sincere and binding and profound (in his natural, well, catholicism) the genius/overman habitually clinges to religion/the law/transcendent stuff, and may produce stuff that is alienating for him and for others. It is interesting what would have become of Nietzsche if he had not died so early. Before that, his mind and spirit was permanently evolving like hardly any other. (In Schopenhauer as Educator, a key writing to understand Nietzsche, he rumintated that in his time and age, Socrates would have not become 70 years old btw.)
UPDATE 5. März 2018
„Der Ironiker hingegen ist die Weissagung oder der abgekürzte Ausdruck einer vollständigen Persönlichkeit (…) die Wirklichkeit selber hat lediglich die Gültigkeit, dass sie ständig nur Anlass zum Hinausgehenwollen über die Wirklichkeit ist, ohne dass doch dieses geschähe; dahingegen nimmt das Individuum diese Beschwernisse (molimina) der Subjektivität in sich zurück, schließt sie in ihr Inneres ein in einer persönlichen Befriedigung: dieser Standpunkt aber ist eben die Ironie (…) Ebenso wenig aber wie die Dutzendmenschen irgend ein „An-sich“ besitzen, sondern alles Beliebige werden können, ebenso wenig hat auch der Ironiker ein „An-sich“. Dies kommt indes nicht daher, dass er lediglich ein Erzeugnis seiner Umgebung ist, vielmehr er steht über seiner ganzen Umgebung; aber um so recht poetisch leben zu können, möchte der Ironiker kein „An-sich“ haben. Dergestalt versinkt die Ironie in dem von ihr am meisten Bekämpften, denn ein Ironiker bekommt eine gewisse Ähnlichkeit mit einem vollendeten Prosamenschen, nur dass der Ironiker die negative Freiheit hat, mit der er dichterisch schaffend über ihm selber steht. Darum wird der Ironiker allermeist zu einem Nichts … aber der Ironiker bewahrt stets seine dichterische Freiheit, und wenn er spürt, dass er zu einem Nichts wird, so dichtet er dieses mit … und dasjenige, von dem die Christen so häufig sprechen, nämlich, dass man ein Narr in dieser Welt werde, das hat der Ironiker auf seine Weise verwirklicht, nur dass er nichts dem Martyrium Ähnliches empfindet, denn für ihn ist es der höchste poetische Genuss.“
Sören Kierkegaard: Über den Begriff der Ironie mit ständiger Rücksicht auf Sokrates
Safranski says the overman is “an ideal for anyone who wants to seize power over himself and who wants to fully develop his virtues; who is creatively productive and who masters the whole register of human intellect, creativity and imagination (“und der auf der ganzen Klaviatur des menschlichen Denkvermögens, der Phantasie und der Einbildungskraft zu spielen weiß”)”, actualizing the whole of human potential. Referring to David Lynch´s Inland Empire Die Zeit makes reference to Transcendental Meditation (which Lynch practices) and that in Transcendental Meditation the highest form of consciousness – unity consciousness – enables a person to perceive “all forms of life as manifestations of the same cosmic being, the boundary between internal and external world becomes permeable, the self is mirrored in all manifestations of the world…” and Der Spiegel adds in a respective review of Inland Empire that for someone transgressed to this level “reality and fiction do not exist anymore; space, time, dream and waking state amalgamate into an all-embracive experience” … indeed, when something like this comes in an organic, authentic way you have the consciousness of the overman (and Die Zeit concludes: “When everything is connected and the whole world fits into a single mind, the (artist) is allowed to perform gigantic leaps with his material, become overarching and eject fragments into the orbit – and yet trust his intuition that the inner, and universal, cohesion remains firm, alive and well.”).
Pessoa proclaims: Overman will not be the strongest one but the most comprehensive! Not the toughest one but the most omniferous! Not the freest one but the most harmonious! – as a distinction against Nietzsche´s somehow stressed vitalistic amor fati ideal; erected by Nietzsche against his own (occasionally suicidal) despair about the perception of everlasting existential misery in the world (“eternal recurrence of the same”) and eternal impossibility of authentic communication with mankind for folks like him. Indeed, overman is the hyperset over man. The intellect as well as the psychology of overman is NOT resemblant to those of man. The overman is the intellectual and psychological superconductor.
Kafka said: “I never wish to be easily defined. I´d rather float over the people´s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable, more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.” And it is true that personhood will not be a compatible category for the overman and he will not feel comfortable with it. When you look at the overman you rather sense some fluid, malleable aura of white light or so. This is not so because of (some more delicate form of) narcissism but because of transcendence. While sophisticated people will try to “make their life a work of art”, the overman will feel uncomfortable with that and moreover deem that inadequate, since an artwork refers to something pompous, and finalized, and static. The overman will rather be the de/transpersonalised center of art/creativity/intellect, somehow like a naked singularity around which anything can happen. (As I have stated on various occasions now) a woman who knew Kafka said about him that Kafka was the only individual who thought like a human should think and who felt how a human should feel. Being the only one who thinks like a human should think and who feels like a human should feel (apparently) makes you the overman; and bearer of the paradox that, in this position, you are both most eccentric to and most at the center of the human experience (making your perception usually double-faced, always fluctuating, undecidable and irritating; beautiful, frightening, and empty; still you remain in control over it.)
When Wittgenstein as a young student of philosophy met Frege to challenge him he unsentimentally noted afterwards that Frege “swept the floor” with him. There are no indications that that experience affected his ego. When some years later Wittgenstein swept the floor with any philosopher there neither are indications that it went to his head and bloated his ego. In fact Wittgenstein (and people of his kind) did not seem to have much of an ego (in the common understanding). Overman also means transcendence of the ego. Reportedly, schizotypals have a nebulous ego respectively may experience the ego as an instance that is somehow vacant and would need to be filled. Instead, they have a sense for connectivity including transcendent connectivity. So, their self is nebulous and ghost-like, but they are keen at establishing (and transforming) connection with the outside world in an authentic way. Because of lack of integration of ego they are the most integrated persons, and the overman will be hyper-integrated along these lines; likewise the subjectivity of overman is so pronounced that 1) the sense for it evades the notion of personhood 2) their “self” becomes of objective importance. (Unfortunately, when I repeatedly posted about that in the schizotypal group with the hope that people in it could relate, they obviously could not relate much (which triggered a depressive shock in me one more time).)
Kafka said: “Life is merely terrible; I feel it as few others do. Often – and in my innermost self perhaps all the time – I doubt whether I am a human being.” Wittgenstein´s last words on his death-bed were: “Tell them I´ve had a wonderful life”, a statement his doctor and friend considered “enigmatic”. Indeed, because of his intensity and excitability (a feature common of schizotypals) and the sophistication of his mind as well as of his virtues and values the overman may be safe (or hyper-safe) in this world, nevertheless the question of happiness remains as the overman is a misfit in this world and all the joyous sensations of perception, rationalization and legitimization frequently (and, well, ultimately) collide with reality; the intensity of perception of the world on the one hand and the superficiality and emptiness of the world on the other hand. Apart from that schizotypals usually score high at anhedonia, i.e. inability to truly experience joy. Nietzsche says that one has to understand that the world is full of small, beautiful things to which we can stick to nevertheless. And that the world is actually deeper and more profound than the occurrences (Die Welt ist tief / Und tiefer als der Tag gedacht / Weh spricht: Vergeh! / Doch alle Lust will Ewigkeit), therefore we actually are safe in a world like that, regardless of what we might think or experience emotionally.
I want to add that the question of happiness for the overman is a delicate, maybe even an irrelevant one, and Pessoa notes that we actually might not know at all what we feel. When somebody asks me about how I feel I usually respond “um”, “mh” or “hm” (if I say anything at all). That is true because I am neutral most of the time. On the other hand my emotions can be very intense and I wonder how the emotions of people who can make so distinct statements about their emotional states frequently deem as emotionally not actually present (so to say). Kafka, who was overwhelmed by his emotions and at the same time a highly functioning artist and bureaucrat, mourned that while it is easy for him to describe his room, describing his inner state deems him the most difficult. Pessoa´s descriptions of his inner life in the Book of Disquiet are cool paintings. Emily Dickinson´s poems are somehow situated at a plane constructed by the meta-level of emotionality and intellectuality (I see white forms in the sky, deepened and stratified in themselves, when I look at them). As the intellect of the overman permanently creates and then destroys again (so to say) and emotions are fluctuating the same way it is difficult for the overman to find stability in anything. Because of his ghost-like inner life/self the overman may feel forlorn and because of his fluidity undefined. Humor will usually be present but not necessarily (as some people think) a savior since humor just means you´re able to look at things in another, unconventional, off-the-wall way, including your own demise. The overman is rooted with his head in the sky and with his feet deep in the ground, and his interior is the endless hall of mirrors. Because of this he has to stabilize himself in his own complexity.
Wittgenstein´s last words were: “Tell them I`ve had a wonderful life”. Aleister Crowley´s last words reportedly were: “I am perplexed”. Wittgenstein was one of greatest philosophers, respectively as a meta-philosopher above the level of philosophers and he wrote a very precise prose to explain thoughts so radical that almost no one was able to understand. Crowley, as it seems to me, was an intelligent psychopath who said his excrements were sacred and who wrote a convoluted prose to express base ideas. According to legend, the psychopathic ego views people and stuff as highly separated from each other and because of this the psychopath has the ability to flexibly adapt to other people (in order to exploit them), whereas the schizotypal ego views everything as highly connected and is unable to play any role, with the schizotypal just being himself at any given moment to such an extent that not even the ego has a specific function, an actual role or identity (i.e. the schizotypal just being himself). Crowley was quite monolithic and self-assured and knew how to deal with people and influence them, Wittgenstein was relatively estranged among humans and seemingly troubled. Crowley, in his life, never was perplexed (therefore his last words were deemed as “enigmatic” by some), Wittgenstein was professionally perplexed all the time. From the perspective of hyperspace or the “spheres” it was the other way round. I hope I have not done wrong against Aleister Crowley; I may take a closer look at him maybe later in life.
Ich lehre euch den Übermenschen. Der
Mensch ist Etwas, das überwunden werden soll. Was
habt ihr gethan, ihn zu überwinden?
Alle Wesen bisher schufen Etwas über sich hin¬
aus: und ihr wollt die Ebbe dieser grossen Fluth sein
und lieber noch zum Thiere zurückgehn, als den Men¬
Was ist der Affe für den Menschen? Ein Ge¬
lächter oder eine schmerzliche Scham. Und ebendas
soll der Mensch für den Übermenschen sein: ein Ge¬
lächter oder eine schmerzliche Scham.
Ihr habt den Weg vom Wurme zum Menschen
gemacht, und Vieles ist in euch noch Wurm. Einst
wart ihr Affen, und auch jetzt noch ist der Mensch
mehr Affe, als irgend ein Affe.
Wer aber der Weiseste von euch ist, der ist auch
nur ein Zwiespalt und Zwitter von Pflanze und von
Gespenst. Aber heisse ich euch zu Gespenstern oder
Seht, ich lehre euch den Übermenschen!
Der Übermensch ist der Sinn der Erde. Euer
Wille sage: der Übermensch sei der Sinn der
When something has „quality“ it means it has „the right fit“, and when something is of very supreme quality it means it has even more than the right fit and/or it does so in an unexpected way – it is transcendent.
Based on an investigation of „classicism vs romaticism“ (and somehow mirroring Nietzsche´s Apollonian vs Dionysian principle and other juxtapositional stuff that may come to mind in this respect) Pirsig speaks of „static“ and „dynamic“ quality. Static quality refers to the quasi-conservative principle of form, dynamic quality to the transformation and extension of form. Dynamic quality is „the conceptually unknown“, or, as Pirsig scholar Northrop says, „the undifferentiated aesthetic continuum“. We may also call it ontological potential.
Indeed, everything in the cosmos is about establishing and transformation of forms (at least seen through our humble perspective). At the ultimate level what you will see is the chaosmos, the permanent interplay of form and its aleatoric transformation; the interplay of the static and the dynamic; the classic and the romantic; art, philosophy and science. I have from time to time explained it as having before my inner eye something rotating with many chambers, with one or some of it emerging, destined to give a new sense to the whole; or now many small squares and now suddenly a lightning shooting from the horizontal towards me, etc. It all happens very quickly and is elusive, forms falling apart to give place to new forms. And it is finally the end of vision. The highest artistic vision is to directly gaze into the chaosmos. Ultraintelligent poet Arthur Rimbaud reached such a level of vision, also Lautréamont and Büchner. Taken to this extreme, vision finally might evaporate and art becoming irrelevant (or whatever). Ultraintelligent engineer Nikola Tesla also liked to entertain himself with such visions before his inner eye (as tells Clifford M. Pickover´s Strange Brains and Genius).
Chaosmos is the synthetic vision of everything, of the whole. I have also spoken about the White Lodge. With the White Lodge I was somehow referring to a state in which you experience yourself after you have analytically figured it all out. You experience that the space of knowledge isn´t anymore made of dialectics, oppositions and the like, it has all dissolved into a white light, or white space, with entitities that instantaneously affect you floating as a kind of a bit grey rippling alongside you. Brecht says intellectual superiority means being able to hold two contradictory concepts in the mind at the same time. I say it is about holding five or so concepts in the mind at the same time, so as that you finally see they may not be contradictory, instead they hold various versimilitudes and truth contents. If you see things that way and have established that kind of vision your mind is free and free to navigate through intellectual space, and your ego has evaporated as it is not tied anymore to any preference to any (ideological) (half-) truths.
Chaosmos and the White Lodge means that you see it all as well as that you permanently sort out things anew. It is not some self-sufficient state of enlightenment. It is progressive. It refers to infinity, and the vision of infinity, being fractal-like, as well as progress of knowledge being fractal-like (or semi/pseudofractal-like). Chaosmos refers to the synthetic, the White Lodge to the analytical; respectively that such distinctions have become superseded in the eye of the respective beholder.