08-11-09

Welt-Klugheit

"Bleib nicht auf ebnem Feld!
Steig nicht zu hoch hinaus!
Am schönsten sieht die Welt
Von halber Höhe aus."

Friedrich Nietzsche, Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, Reclam, 2000, p. 16.

(amateuristic English translation below)


I'm running a serious risk of not taking myself seriously. It's the risk that's well less known because of the dreary fact-of-life that the average cultivated person is well to the over-serious side. Still, one can go too far in the other direction, as Nietzsche (in all probability) did round about the time he wrote the book from which this is taken - and as more & more people will risk as the average levels of cultivation go up and it becomes the standard to be more like Wilde than like the village preacher (or nut, if you prefer). But in naming the Great One with Anal Preferences, you get my point or at least so I hope: you can only laugh so much with yourself, before it gets to points where, really, it becomes laughable. Not, mind you, that it's a common risk to run (& you would be ill-advised to think you're running it) as in most cases people that find themselves poking fun at themselves really are making a shadow-move; so getting, said in passing, to an interesting non-intended irony allowing us - in all seriousness - to laugh heartily at their jokes (don't get it? shame on you!).

Anyway, in my attempt to up the frequency on this here place a bit (trying to avoid a hitting-of-the-same-nail-over-and-over-again syndrome - & finishing something that is quite a bit bigger than a little post), where should be the harm in revisiting further some childhood favourites - setting some records straight whilst taking something of a rest, 'pour mieux sauter' so to speak. This is Nietzsche's book; the rest is better - by broad margins - than most, but the 'fröhliche Wissenschaft' is where he remained unaffected by the flat oceans of mediocrity surrounding him and hit it on the head & hit it well, without the great Babylonic assent: still funny, not yet sour. Allow me a bit of paternalistic instincts: this is how my kids need to get to know him.

And besides, it does tie to my over-all project for you can only make sense if you're still connected to the everyday goins-on; but you can only really add value if you do jump & take the risk of telling something that's so new that nobody understands it - heck, that you don't quite 'get it' yourself (feeling the frustrations of being uncertain yourself of whether you're being a genius or just everyday ludicrous). That's where it has to be possible to laugh at yourself with all strings attached - laugh with yourself, but feeling the pain of being ridiculized by others, on things that matter for you; not just laughing because it's funny & relaxing & showing that you can take the vantage points that are the highest, that you can describe the lay of the land because you've discovered the best vista's; no - feeling the ridicule of the classroom on things which are near and dear to you (a poem you meant, an opinion you believe strongly in), & inflicting thát ridicule on yourself, en plein public, inviting the others.

Not easy, heh! Much easier to take the high road, which is what most people looking down on the flatlanders do. The high road in fact even easier than the safe paths of gradualism in art and litterature because the creation and risk is still real - although it is lower and therefore also - in a non-romantic and non-overly-obsessive way - the reward is lower (it's a simple law of artistic creation: the more understandable to this public of 'now', the more rapidly it will date since it will rapidly cease to be intelligble to the offspring, the offspring's cultivation progressing too fast to keep a connection with what soon becomes folcloristic nostalgia, the friendly face of cultural pessimism, take opera for instance and its overly overt dramatism).

Getting too long again so let me share some quotes of mine to appear (maybe who knows?) soon elsewhere in real print: "When nobody understands you - you've said nothing. Being mainstream is as important as being independent. There is nothing mediocre about being like everybody else: to be special is not to be a little different in everything and from everybody, it suffices to be new in something."

Great minds think alike :-)

As you were.


"Don't stay on the flat lands!
Don't climb too high!
The most beautiful view of the world,
can be seen from half those heights."


Whilst writing this I was listening to Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Friedrich Gulda (Discs 7 & 8) - and I do admit that I checked in on the soccer results from time to time.

21:02 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: learning, nietzsche, decadence, boldness, imagination |  Facebook |

28-10-09

The Objective Problem (concerning The Truth of Christianity)

"(..) And as for the relationship of the subject to the truth when he comes to know it, the assumption is that if only the truth is brought to light, its appropriation is a relatively unimportant matter, something which follows as a matter of course. And in any case, what happens to the individual is in the last analysis a matter of indifference. Herein lies the lofty equanimity of the scholar, and the comic thoughtlessness of his parrot-like echo." S. Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Princeton 1968, p. 24.


A friend of mine put my mind again on Kierkegaard. Although I won't praise the lord for it, I am thankful for reading him early on in my life. He cured me of many things (one of them trying to be too serious about anything for too long) and most notably of religious group-think (and, consequently but with quite a significant delay, of all & any religious - or with more modern terms: deep, sincere, authentic - sentiment, but not of sentiment as such - see later). He also cured me of feeling compelled to what is commonly preferred sentence-wise: i.e. short sentences. And of the need to avoid starting sentences with the word "And".

So I dug in. At random, as I read Kierkegaard well before I started with this habit of dog-ear'ing (Dutch speaking visitors will maybe not recognize the term as an English translation of "ezelsoor"; dogs turn into donkeys in the area of language, no sweat) and unfortunately also before I started reading in German. I came across lots of the type of funny thing that makes somebody like me cringe in the realization that they may, after all, not be as good as they think they are at this business of writing. And I came across a section on old virgins that waited and waited for the moment just to realize when they thought they got to it that nobody was interested anymore - not in sharing it with them, that is, at least.

I laughed, then settled for the above dry 'n sober quote. Risking, in so doing, to be scaring of one or two visitors here for the atheistic joy of reading somebody that is - unashamedly - religious. Christian even, and - for him - not by co-incidence.

Oughtn't I get around to the point?

To my defense: I did get around it - which was, more or less, the point.

'Dawkins' he said and 'agnosticism'. I like Dawkins, mostly. I dislike agnosticism, all of the time (that is a bit harsh, really, but the way the former appears to understand the latter: true enough). It hit me: I hated the link between the both. 'Why that?', I thought (I'm making things simple here, so please thank me for it while I shift gear from 'banging-the-same-nail' status I got into in the last posts). Well - I will tell you why! Because the guy really should pay his dues to Kierkegaard - to the man whose first name my keyboard won't allow me to type. It's not a mere historical accident of not knowing everything that has been written. Kierkegaard's essential to anything in the field of criticizing religion, ANYTHING. Leaving him out can only be negligence, or foul play; I leave it up to Dawkins which it is, as I have not the least interest in what is on his mind. But I can imagine it is awkward to recognize that the stupidity of any proof of God's existence was demonstrated in the 1st half of the 19th century by an avowed Christian (regardless of the disproof of the provability of God).

Which brings me back to the things I was cured of by a really great Dane: scientism, or the belief that science in and of itself can be the solution ('Solution of what?', is a sufficiently à propos retort to it, by the way). It can't and I am not saying Dawkins is saying it can, but he is at least neglecting to say it can't. No - correction needed: I'll need to be prudent here as I didn't read most of what Dawkins had to say lately (as I thought he said what was to be said in his first two books). More prudently then: I, sincerely, believe that the evidence points in the direction of Dawkins (et al) making his (their) life(s) easier for themselves (in converting the converted) by neglecting a challenge which is quite to the heart of their point. If so they are as far as the critical attitude goes, far inferior to Kierkegaard who started from the opponent's angle and point of view; who started from the worst possible place, for what he thought was the intuitively correct position. Because in the end (but that's for other posts elsewhere & here) what science cannot be, the scientific spirit maybe can be, and the critical mind surely is. It's at least discomforting to give the impression to loose out on the home qualities to the away team, isn't it.

There is not enough time now or place here to go in the real detail but let me say - and one of these days I'll get the old virgins in this bed and come back to it - that: the omission (if it is there) is non-trivial also from the content point of view. It is of the type exposed by Bergson and more mathematically attacked by a Chruchland - or was it Alonzo Church?, I really have to find that paper back: in the real world and the world of real numbers, there is no straightforward transformation of facts and of matters of fact. There is a subject there that makes the relations 'dirty' - maybe in Davidson's anomalous monism case. This dirtiness needs to be faced; for if not - it will, once again, be confused for 'something' higher, deeper, more authentic, super- or supra-human .. and the misery of human inhumanity - in the name of - can start all over again.

To close: look at the end of the quote above: "parrot-like echo". It's dead on, as is clear from the above. Exaggerating in science leads not only to mysticism - and late converts - but also leads to a destruction of creativity. There is just no point in being right, right?

My only difference here with Kierkegaard is that I don't see where that's funny.

Knipogen


Whilst writing this I was listening to the jazz program on klara.be, called, aptly, "Jazz".

(but, more interestingly, whilst thinking about it I was listening to Valentin Silvestrov, The Seven Verses of Alexander Blok, by the Gryphon Trio)

21:42 Gepost door Guido Nius in Vrije tijd | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: kierkegaard, scientism, decadence, boldness, intention |  Facebook |

14-10-09

Bleed for me

"(..)

C'mon bleed
C'mon bleed
C'mon bleed
Bleed for me

We'll strap you to a pipe
Electrodes on your balls
C'mon scream
C'mon writhe
Face down in a pool of piss

C'mon bleed
C'mon bleed
C'mon bleed
Bleed for me

In the name of world peace
In the name of world profits
America pumps up our secret police
America wants fuel
To get it, it needs puppets
So what's ten million dead?
If it's keeping out the Russians

(..)"

Dead Kennedys, 1982, any of many lyrics sites.


Indulge me (meaning: I'll indulge myself anyway, thank you very much!).

It's been busy; haven't had a chance to take things in new directions, & feel a need to be outspoken. That means I'll take the liberty to be brief and all mystical-like as behooves one who is convinced the populace needs it short & simple (peace, love & climate change and stuff). In other words: awaiting the time to find a good quote, I will for this once try my best not to be myself.

(anyway, as people slowly realize the 60s were a problem & we're in desperate need of a come-back of the 80s, i.e. it's time for what was marginal in the 80s to become the fucking mainstream already)

As follows:

1. First there was the word. The word created men. Man discovered the world. World & word will never co-incide. The word will converge to the world. The world will be full to the brim of this word. Word and world are forever separated by at least an 'L' (in smaller case, to be exact). Note: when I say 'man' & 'men' I do refer to women.

and,

2. There is always something wrong with Utopian type societies, even in ideal cases. Such was the point of much post-WWII literature. It is really not too much to ask to go figure out what is commonly wrong in all these utopian rêveries. It suffices to go all destructive on this common element & deny existence to anything that has even the remotest tendency to evolve into something that might include that element.

So let's take these two together. Abusing words for the 'good of ..' is the surest no-no. It goes to the core of what we are and ever can be and it is common to Utopian dreams and nightmares from Wilde over Kraus to Orwell.

To take a case in point: let's examine the use of the term 'politically correct'. When somebody uses this term in a pejorative sense you know you have a number 1 that is combined with a number 2 (as per the above numbering scheme).

Indeed, there is nothing pejorative about being politically correct. As can be easily & conclusively demonstrated as per the following:

- using words to express something that is correct is a proper use of words

- expressing something that is correct politically is both possible and informative

On top of which it being obviously highly relevant to be correct from a political point of view. For instance it is politically correct to prefer freedom of speech. On analysis this entails that only such acts as can be properly classed as 'speech' are free. This in turn excludes any pronouncement on non-speech acts such as shouting, singing, baby talk, talking nonsense and - in general - uttering non-propositional content in ways loosely similar to the use of language or words. Not that they are restricted or not allowed; far from it, as far from it being restricted or unallowed to fart in public; they are simply not speech acts. And therefore not to be confounded with politically correctly vindicated free acts of speech.

So here we have a specifically sophisticated (call it: libertarian) abuse of words. The pejorative use of 'politically correct' is incorrect. Not just politically incorrect but just - simply - incorrect. Strictly speaking it's not even a speech act, and it would be fully consistent to disallow that specific use of that specific concatenation of words (which is not to say, obviously, that it should be disallowed or that it would be correct to do so).

To conclude with our specific example: the pejorative use of 'politically correct' is an instance of authoritarian behaviour (this statement is correct, by the way). This type of authoritarian behaviour is a political nuisance at best (this statement is politically correct). The use of this statement under the misleading umbrella of libertarian with a non-coincidental objective of creating pleasurable associations with 'liberty' is, well, doubly misleading (being mild here). There is no limit to this abuse. It has been on record that some 'libertarians' have made use of the work of G. Orwell in defense of their specific though crime (better; absence-of-thought crime).

Clearly there are things (were things, will be things) that are passed off as politically correct which are not (were not, will not be) correct (above you found a very complex one exposed; the simpler ones are - hmmm - simpler to expose). They have to be exposed to be incorrect (or, more narrowly, politically incorrect). That can be done in a variety of ways the most ineffective of which is probably this one.

I will leave it smugly up to the reader to generalize thes messages to other uses of words in an effort to obstruct the progression towards truth and the development of language as such.

A hint for demystification: to illustrate the last two paragraphs I refer to the quote I have quoted above.


Whilst writing this I was listening to Bronski Beat, The Age of Consent.

22:19 Gepost door Guido Nius in Muziek | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: pop culture, decadence, language, universals, boldness |  Facebook |