Wednesday, November 16, 2005

From my studies on Nietzsche

I am now reading Beyond Good and Evil by, you guessed it, Nietzsche. In doing so I found the following and figured I'd throw it up for all to dissect.

"The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it: it is here, perhaps, that our new language sounds most strangely. The question is, how far an opinion is life-furthering, life-preserving, species-preserving, perhaps species-rearing, and we are fundamentally inclined to maintain that the falsest opinions (to which the synthetic judgments a priori belong), are the most indispensable to us, that without a recognition of logical fictions, without a comparison of reality with the purely imagined world of the absolute and immutable, without a constant counterfeiting of the world by means of numbers, man could not live--that the renunciation of false opinions would be a renunciation of life, a negation of life. To recognize untruth as a condition of life; that is certainly to impugn the traditional ideas of value in a dangerous manner, and a philosophy which ventures to do so, has thereby alone placed itself beyond good and evil."-Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond good and evil. What a concept. Is untruth a condition of life? Must man lie to himself to accept the world around him?

Today we see lies in everything from statistics to textbooks to daily conversation. A scientist will publish his work only to have it proven later false because he ignored variables he couldn't explain. The super-predator T-Rex was proven to have never existed but been a conglomeration of a few different animals.

We try to categorize everything, even when in doing so we must bend some truths to make them fit our nice neat interpretation of the world. For me it has taken a series of life changing events to make me analyze my own categories, pulling out things I had to bend to hell to make fit. Do good and evil exist in a real sense, or are the just categories we use to make life neat and clean? Can man ever truly appreciate life and all of its glorious chaos, or will our mathematical minds blind us to the real truth? Life in this savage garden is beautiful when we see all of it, pain, joy, order, and chaos as neither good nor evil but parts of the whole.

6 comments:

JC said...

Hot damn, what a topic! You have been hanging around a few too many genii! (no matter how you spell it, it is usually an exaggeration)

But it's good to see you're reading Neitzche! The Will To Power really changed my life back when I was a "smaller evil genius," I had only heard negative things about Neitzche all my life, then somehow decided to read it for myself (probably hanging around the wrong crowd, like you)

The ideas of good and evil are by themselves of course renunciations of life. Life is many things, but it is rarely good or evil.

And of course what's good for me could be evil for you, like if I find your wallet and max out your credit cards buying medicine for my sick mother who has emphesyma from smoking 5 packs a day at her job as an elevator operator.

Hard to see what's right in every situation, even given a finite set of variables. Thats why a lot of people crave
certainty
.

The answer is of course no, we don't have to lie to ourselves, we can do without the old lies that we once thought we needed, just as a child does without santa claus, we should shed our old fables and look at the world through an adult's eyes.

We as a species are all grown up now, and we'd better stop behaving like dad is going to bail us out.

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

Can we really leave the lies behind?

Like I said, we as humans constantly try to set facts as static when in fact they change constantly. Sceintists try to apply hard numbers to things which cannot truly be quantified. Can we as a society truly live without lies? On an individual level humans like you or me can begin to see the lies for what they are.

Humans as a group are inherently weak minded and will hold on to a lie as long as it makes them feel secure.

Take as another for instance, 9/11 proved the U.S. vulnerable. It was incontravertable proof we can be struck in horrific ways. Today many in America feel we can stop another attack because the Dubbya is looking out for us. If you look at the hard facts, we are only marginally safer now than on 9/11. But they hold on to their comfortable lie. Imagine the panic when the irrational masses realize what we rational few already know. When a rational few see the lie we try to understand and prepare. When the masses see the lie they behave irrationally like many in New Orleans did.

Angel said...

"Humans as a group are inherently weak minded and will hold on to a lie as long as it makes them feel secure."

The same could be said for faith...

- Rev_Sapphire

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

Absolutly true. I cannot deny that my faith could very well be me holding on to a comfortable myth.

Angel said...

And that wouldn't be wrong as long as you live your life YOUR way, and not according to man-made laws/rules asking you to give up that which makes you happy just so you can "secure" your seat in "Heaven".

Understand?

- Rev_Sapphire

JC said...

First, I have to ask you where the heck did you hear T. Rex didn't exist?

I've tried to look that one up, but I can't even find religious "Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church" types saying that, so I assume you're getting this from some bleeding edge science mag or something. Please give us a link.

Second, I would put money on the US being substantially less safe today than we were before 9-11, but that's for some future historians to decide.

To the point-
People are not the ignorant masses you see them to be, they are men and women like the ones who post here. calling them the 'irrational masses' makes them into an imaginary monster no more real than the bogey-man. They are us, we are they.

We are none of us rational all the time, and even if we were, rational decisions are not always the best ones.

If I can cast aside the fairy stories of heaven and 72 virgins waiting for me, then so can anybody else. If they choose not to and they waste their lives in fear of some imaginary bogeyman, that's up to them, but lets not pretend they're not capable, it makes us feel superior, but it's just not accurate.