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Sunday, June 28, 2009

what troubles Nietzsche

Only as creators!— This has given me the greatest trouble and still does: to realize that what things are called is incomparably more important than what they are. The reputation, name, and appearance, the usual measure and weight of a thing, what it counts for—originally almost always wrong and arbitrary, thrown over things like a dress and altogether foreign to their nature and even to their skin—all this grows from generation unto generation, merely because people believe in it, until it gradually grows to be part of the thing and turns into its very body: what at first was appearance becomes in the end, almost invariably, the essence and is effective as such! How foolish it would be to suppose that one only needs to point out this origin and this misty shroud of delusion in order to destroy the world that counts for real, so-called "reality"! We can destroy only as creators!— But let us not forget this either: it is enough to create new names and estimations and probabilities in order to create in the long run new "things."

Nietzsche The Gay Science §58

This aphorism and other similar thoughts (like GS §76, §55) are what inspired the name for this blog. My own take varies in emphasis but if anything is required of philosophy it's reframing. I agree with Nietzsche in this context that we can only create (we don't simply uncover "truth" by destroying idols). But also, our creations are deeply situated; our options are limited. Newton and Leibniz "discovered" calculus around the same time.* The historical moment provided the context for what they could discover/create.

Perhaps this is so troubling to Nietzsche because while we can uncover this or that individual prejudice we're fairly bound by the others and by our time. So even as we attempt to gain these small bits of freedom by recreating the world in our own image we remain inevitably bound to the cliché reality.

Or maybe that's just what troubles me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pleasure and Pleasure

If work becomes pleasure, will pleasure still be pleasing?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

work and pleasure

This aphorism has been oddly apt for the past couple weeks. I took a spur of the moment trip (driving) to and from the coast of Oregon over the weekend. If things work out we may be taking over a business there and moving. We'll see...
Work and boredom.--Looking for work in order to be paid: in civilized countries today almost all men are at one in doing that. For all of them work is a means and not an end in itself. Hence they are not very refined in their choice of work, if only it pays well. But there are, if only rarely, men who would rather perish than work without any pleasure in their work. They are choosy, hard to satisfy, and do not care for ample rewards, if the work itself is not the reward of rewards. Artists and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare breed, but so do even those men of leisure who spend their lives hunting, traveling, or in love affairs and adventures. All of these desire work and misery if only it is associated with pleasure, and the hardest, most difficult work if necessary. Otherwise, their idleness is resolute, even if it spells impoverishment, dishonor, and danger to life and limb. They do not fear boredom as much as work without pleasure; they actually require a lot of boredom if their work is to succeed. For thinkers and all sensitive spirits, boredom is that disagreeable "windless calm" of the soul that precedes a happy voyage and cheerful winds. They have to bear it and must wait for its effect on them. Precisely this is what lesser natures cannot achieve by any means. To ward off boredom at any cost is vulgar, no less than work without pleasure. Perhaps Asians are distinguished above Europeans by a capacity for longer, deeper calm; even their opiates have a slow effect and require patience, as opposed to the disgusting suddenness of the European poison, alcohol.

Nietzsche The Gay Science §42
It's an alcohol related business. The irony, it burns.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Believing that they possess consciousness, men have not exerted themselves very much to acquire it; and things haven't changed much in this respect. To this day the task of incorporating knowledge and making it instinctive is only beginning to dawn on the human eye and is not yet clearly discernible; it is a task that is seen only by those who have comprehended that so far we have incorporated only our errors and that all our consciousness relates to errors.

Nietzsche The Gay Science §11

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

on being an introvert

At this new job I recently had to tell my boss that I'm an introvert. He kept giving me tasks that were too people oriented. The confusion comes in because I can communicate clearly and get along well with people. That doesn't mean I'm any less of an introvert, I just spent some time working on my people skills. Anyhow, it reminded me of this article on introversion in the Atlantic from a while ago.

Friday, June 5, 2009


a duel - Source:wikimedia commons
I could go for a good duel about now.

Why did it take the death of Alexander Hamilton to outlaw dueling?