Nikolaus Lenau´s Faust, Gilles Deleuze´s Proust, and Second Prelude to a Note about the Hyperset

I have stated elsewhere (in the Book of Strange and Unproductive Thinking) that I find Faust a quite strange, annoying and unconvincing figure (as well as that Goethe < Büchner). Likewise – despite Faust is a character through which humanity is individualised (like Don Quixote, Yorick, K., Malone, Ishmael or Peer Gynt) – Nietzsche said that, upon reflection, probably all that remains of Faust is a bizarre, degenerated example of scientific man. Ibsen wrote his Peer Gynt as an allusion to Faust and someone said Ibsen´s Peer Gynt is a bizarre satire upon Goethe´s Faust. I find Peer Gynt a more convincing, direct epitome of humanity, also given the ethical implications of Peer Gynt, although I somehow think that the mirror image of Faust (who is, of course, the much more comprehensive character) is somehow necessary to make Peer Gynt truly shine. Otto Weininger was very fond of Peer Gynt and it was Otto Weininger who made me understand Peer Gynt so that I wrote my Rompf as an allusion and a bizarre satire upon Peer Gynt. Otto Weininger (wrongly) was somehow dismissive of Ibsen´s later plays and said that, if he had wanted, Ibsen could have become greater than Goethe (because he somehow didn´t like Ibsen´s progressive attitude towards women). Otto Weininger was also dismissive of Nietzsche and called him a genius of seventh (lowest) grade (because he missed the ethical component in Nietzsche´s philosophy). Otto Weininger mourned that there was no one around like Goethe anymore in his days. I think if Otto Weininger had stayed alive he would have become greater than Goethe and Nietzsche, but he was psychologically troubled and did not survive. I partially understand Otto Weininger´s psychological troubles (in the dimension of overexcitabilities common among geniuses) and as far as I can see I am the only one around who actually understands Otto Weininger as a philosopher. I also think Ibsen was at least a more convincing and powerful playwright than Goethe. I have written one play so far and it was a bizarre satire upon theater and theater audience. I wonder what would have become of Büchner if he had stayed alive. I think Büchner would have become a major existential philosopher like Weininger or Nietzsche, not a theorizer of colours like Goethe. Enter Nikolaus Lenau.


Nikolaus Lenau denied Goethe possessing a „monopoly“ upon Faust, instead understood the archetype of Faust as a creative common of mankind and wrote his own version of Faust (like Christopher Marlowe had already done before Goethe). Nikolaus Lenau is relatively obscure today although Wikepedia bluntly states that he was the greatest Austrian poet of the 19th century. His Faust is a somehow more dire figure than Goethe´s and is frantically and desperately motivated to understand the presumed „truth of it all“. As he gets thrown into the world of the living by the devil he neither finds fulfilment in elementary constructiveness (love, giving birth) nor in destructive passions and finally finds himself cut off from everything so that, in a metaphysically deluded reflection upon his emotional alienation, he kills himself (and falls prey to the devil´s plot). Lenau´s Faust finds himself in a heterogenous, emotionally detached world and, as long as he cannot be omnipotent, omniscient, omnisentient and sovereign rather chooses death, his endeavour to „weld together himself, world and God“ („Dich, Welt und Gott in eins zusammenschweißen“) a failure. Lenau´s Faust indeed does not have the universality of Goethe´s Faust, it is rather a reflecion upon Lenau`s inner world as he finds himself torn between a longing for a protective God and being embedded in nature and being an autonomous god himself, unable to find reconciliation and consolation between the two extremes. As Faust is an archetype for (metaphysically) struggling man, Lenau was right to weld his alter ego together with the Faust archetype. I came across Nikolaus Lenau´s Faust when Alexander Nitzberg and his companion Peter Sendtko made a theatrical performance of the poem/play at Roman´s atelier some weeks ago; it was really lovely.

I still have not read Proust´s Recherche, I bought a copy of Swann´s Way when I was 19 or so and finally managed to read it some years ago. As far as I understand, Proust is longing for closure within intensity too which he tries to achieve via realization of memory. Proust´s Recherche is also archetypical. Gilles Deleuze bluntly announces (in Proust and Signs) that the Recherche is not an undertaking directed into the past and into autobiographical memory but into the future and into learning where memory is the material through which the subject enriches itself and comes to itself. Neither the subject nor the world does express itself directly, the chiffres of the world are the signs (for instance social signs, romantic signs, etc.), and via understanding the signs the subject progressively deciphers the world. The purest signs are the signs of art as they are immaterial and spiritual. The signs of art are deeper than the subject or object that carries and sends out the signs and more elementary as they reveal the essence. The essence of an object is its true embeddedness in the world, that what is actualised about it and its potentialities, it is, with reference to the note about Deleuze and Rancière and as Angell de la Sierra puts it, the „meta-noumenon … nothing less than the existential ontology of the object, another way of expressing its circumstantial semantic content, now and later on, a mind´s view of ,objective reality`“. The essence of the subject is to become a „point of view“ upon the world, finally, as Deleuze notes, a de/transpersonalised „spider“ which reacts to and acts upon the vibrations within the world-net. In becoming a „point of view“ the subject becomes objectified, eternal and immortal and it is eventually via the artwork via which man is able to make sense of the world and establish identity. It is associative intelligence, not logical intelligence (which is the intelligence of Faust) which reveals essence. – Trying to live in this world with a pronounced artist´s intelligence is not easy of course, but I have to say that Faust´s problems are to a considerable degree alien to me. The arid character of the world gets compensated as before my inner eye as lose graceful gestures I occasionaly witness (for instance by birds, by twinkling stars or by children) get inflated into a graceful world and potentialities seem to pour out everywhere (despite being aware that that´s a kind of bluff package, yet only partially). I do not communicate much with people but I feel, in a way, in a communion with them much more than the chatterboxes out there commonly do. Memory is virtually present not in a fotographic, textual way but via a hypertextual monitor on which I can recall memories to a given sensual or intellectual stimulus via association, enriching both the stimulus and the memory content with additional meaning. That monitor kind of enwraps and cocoons me and gives me presence. Faust obviously lacks such a thing.

A while ago I have started to ruminate about the „hyperset“. The occasion was a diagram I saw which made me think of a, say, meta-diagram as a necessity to competently understand and process the diagram, as a, so to say, conscious reflection over the diagram. Likewise, I have observed that I seem to belong to many groups within the human realm which often venn very thin and marginally, or not at all, making the final intersection a set to which seemingly only I belong, in solitude, on this earth, maybe also in this history. However, I also seem to understand all the sets at a higher level than those who only belong to the respective sets, I have higher awareness, I have higher consciousness of them. That diversification and pluralism is a good thing is commonplace, that the one who only understands a single discipline actually doesn´t understand that discipline either is what they say. Pluralistic understanding is good. Deleuze (and Guattari) refers to transversality as a mode of establishing connection between heterogenous sets that make up reality. Transversality does not try to totalize and normalise heterogeneity but is affirmative towards difference, lets them resonate and explores interdependencies. It is experimental and reflects anti-logos and becoming, the associative method of the Recherche, the instability of the world and the object as well as the emergence of essence through the process of art. Artistic style (i.e. a subjective mode of expression which is of objective substance) is what holds heterogeneity together and is the correlate to the logos (Welsch takes „transversal reason“ as a model for reason in postmodernity). This is vibrant and humming and makes us think of a microcosmic reflection of macrocosm (which also Deleuze does in Proust and Signs). Remember, Otto Weininger says: „The ego of the genius accordingly is simply itself universal comprehension, the centre of infinite space; the great man contains the whole universe within himself; genius is the living microcosm. He is not an intricate mosaic, a chemical combination of an infinite number of elements; the argument in chap. iv. as to his relation to other men and things must not be taken in that sense; he is everything. In him and through him all psychical manifestations cohere and are real experiences, not an elaborate piece-work, a whole put together from parts in the fashion of science. For the genius the ego is the all, lives as the all; the genius sees nature and all existences as whole; the relations of things flash on him intuitively; he has not to build bridges of stones between them.“ That is, well, the purest emanation of the hyperset, not somehow clumsily (or, if you want, more cautiously and operational) as it appears before my inner eye or that of Deleuze, Guattari or Proust (not to speak of Faust). Unfortunately Otto collapsed psychologically under its airy weight.

Despite having written the First Prelude to a Note about the Hyperset months ago it seems that I have not progressed a lot about thinking about it further and deeper, which is, however, excusable since I have done other things. I wonder whether the „hyperset“ can be a mathematical object and how it could be modelled, maybe it could shed light on the incompleteness theorem. I also wonder whether consiousness could actually be understood as a hyperset, or what we refer to as the soul, or processes of „emergence“ in nature (which are, so far, little understood). It reflects however an elevated state of mind which is, in the same fashion, „grounded“. Maybe I also lose interest in the hyperset, though I don´t really think so because first I like the name and second I think it is actually a name and category that refers to something real and one day, after I am gone, they will jubiliatingly scream „the hyperset, the hyperset!“ when they´ve done something dilettante; but that does not differ from what I do and how I came to think of the hyperset.

Prelude to Note about the Hyperset