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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the philosopher-comedian

Every animal—therefore la bête philosophe [The philosophical animal], too—instinctively strives for an optimum of favorable conditions under which it can expend all its strength and achieve its maximal feeling of power; every animal abhors, just as instinctively and with a subtlety of discernment that is "higher than all reason," every kind of intrusion or hinderance that obstructs or could obstruct this path to the optimum (I am not speaking of its path to happiness, but its path to power, to action, to the most powerful activity, and in most cases its path to unhappiness). Thus the philosopher abhors marriage, together with that which might persuade to it—marriage being a hindrance and calamity on his path to the optimum. What great philosopher hitherto has been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer—they were not; more, one cannot even imagine them married. A married philosopher belongs in comedy, that is my proposition—and as for that exception, Socrates—the malicious Socrates*, it would seem, married ironically, just to demonstrate this proposition.

Nietzsche GM 3.7 (Kaufmann *Socrates appears in Aristophanes' comedy The Clouds)

All I have been concerned to indicate here is this: in the most spiritual sphere too, the ascetic ideal has at present only one kind of real enemy capable of harming it: the comedians of this ideal—for they arouse mistrust of it. Everywhere else that the spirit is strong, mighty, and at work without counterfeit today, it does without ideals of any kind—the popular expression for this abstinence is "atheism"—except for its will to truth. But this will, this remnant of an ideal, is, if you will believe me, this ideal itself in its strictest, most spiritual forumlation, esoteric through and through, with all external additions abolished, and thus not so much its remnant as its kernel. Unconditional honest atheism (and its is the only air we breathe, we more spiritual men of this age!) is therefore not the antithesis of that ideal, as it appears to be; it is rather only one of the latest phases of its evolution, one of its terminal forms and inner consequences--it is the awe-inspiring catastrophe of two thousand years of training in truthfulness that finally forbids itself the lie involved in belief in God.

(The same evolutionary course in India, completely independent of ours, should prove something: the decisive point is reached five centuries before the beginning of the European calendar, with Buddha; more exactly, with the Sankhya philosophy, subsequently popularized by Buddha and made into a religion.)

Nietzsche GM 3.27 (Kaufmann)
All philosophers are single unless they're comedians.
I'm married. I'm a philosopher.
Ergo, I'm a comedian.

Mike (of Church of Mike) is a comedian of the latter variety.

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