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Sunday, May 20, 2012

the Don Juan of knowledge

The Don Juan of knowledge: he has yet to be discovered by any philosopher or poet.  He is lacking in love for the things he comes to know, but he has intellect, titillation, and pleasure in the hunt and intrigues involved in coming to know--all the way up to the highest and most distant planets of knowledge--until finally nothing remains for him to hunt down other than what is absolutely painful in knowledge, like the drunkard who ends up drinking absinthe and acqua fortis.  Thus he ends up lusting for hell--it is the last knowledge that seduces him.  Perhaps, like everything he has come to know, it will disillusion him as well!  And then he would have to stand still for all of eternity, nailed on the spot to disillusionment, and himself having become the stone guest longing for an evening meal of knowledge that he never again will receive!--For the entire world of things no longer has a single morsel to offer this hungry man.

Nietzsche Dawn §327
A Nietzschean warning for the philosopher as traveler but I don't think it's a real threat (I mean beyond the pursuit of painful knowledge (and the pain involved in the pursuit of knowledge), illusion being so much more comforting and all that). Just as Don Juan would have a hell of a time trying to conquer every woman on the planet, so too does the Don Juan of knowledge quickly encounter a nearly infinite set. The knowledge of abiding in hell would require some commitment but then in some sense he'd be abiding also in his true love, the chase.

I don't think I'm totally understanding this aphorism.  Maybe I shouldn't take the metaphor so far.

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