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The Nietzsche Cult May 15, 2004 by RedStar2000


When I was in high school (more than 40 years ago!), there was a small group of bright kids who were utterly fascinated by Nietzsche...particularly his scathing polemics against 19th century Christianity. They somehow overlooked the fact that Nietzsche was critical of Christianity because it was not irrational enough.

Should I laugh or weep to discover that this old fraud is still bemusing the young with his transparent nonsense.


===========================================

Amidst the babble, I found this...

quote:

Woman is more closely related to nature than man and in all her essentials she remains ever herself. Culture is with her always something external, a something which does not touch the kernel that is eternally faithful to nature...


A straight-forward statement...and completely ludicrous.

What is this fascination with Nietzsche?
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 10, 2004
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quote:

That may be of more interest to Communists concerning Nietzsche.


The reference is to this work Nietzsche and Soviet Culture: Ally and Adversary
edited by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal.

It doesn't sound promising; here's how the publisher describes it...

quote:

This pioneering study shows for the first time the extent and diversity of the impact of Nietzschean ideas on Soviet literature and culture. It examines the Nietzschean roots of early Soviet literature, theater and architecture, Soviet political culture, the work of disaffected writers and thinkers and that of intellectuals of the non-Russian nationalities. It offers a fresh perspective on the origins, formative years, and subsequent development of Soviet literature and culture, and raises new issues for research and discussion.


Not to mention the price: $95.00!!!

That's a lot to pay for some graduate students desperate for a thesis topic.

quote:

I discovered [Nietzsche] through my dislike of organised religion and from there I thought I should read on to see if he had anything else interesting to say. I must say I'm glad I did.


I think I asked this before; what are the interesting things he had to say?

Consider the quote that was posted: is it "true"? Does it "make sense"? Is it even "interesting"?

The 19th century romantics and neo-romantics wrote tons of that sort of drivel about "the eternal feminine". Utter crapola!

Why, therefore, does anyone find anything Nietzsche said "interesting" now?

quote:

Philosophy...what crap!


That's going too far...but not by much. Once in a while, they "guessed right"...but mostly they guessed wrong and usually badly wrong. See the quote that was posted.

It looks to me like philosophy is "needle in a haystack" country. Both real history and real science seem to me to be far more informative...and thus interesting.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 11, 2004
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quote:

For somebody who hates philosophy you spend an awful lot of time refuting it. As our good friend Nietzsche said, what you react against the most influences you the most whether you hate it or not.


Neat quip! But where's the substance?

I don't "hate" philosophy...as you pointed out, prior to the 18th century it was pretty much all we had in the way of trying to rationally understand the world.

But when people bring it up now, then it has to withstand the same critical examination that all other ideas are subject to.

You can't just say (or repeat) "bullshit, bullshit, blah, blah, blah!" and, when challenged, invoke the "holy name" of philosophy as a "cover" or an "excuse".

Does what this particular "great philosopher" says make sense? Is it legitimately part of our efforts to rationally understand the world?

Philosophers have, on occasion, "guessed right". Aristotle was right about the dolphin (it is a mammal). Kant was right about the origins of the solar system (it did originate as a large ball of gas). Husserl may turn out to have been right about how the mind actually works (it seems to form an on-going "picture" of the immediate future based on the immediate past...at least there are brain-scans that strongly suggest something like this is happening).

But the "needles of truth" are rare and the haystack of crap is very large.

quote:

The fascination with Nietzsche is that he predicts all the problems we face in the post modern age...


Does he indeed. That's a "big claim"...how do you justify it?

Let's get specific.

quote:

...and in the future Nietzsche will be more accepted by young minds.


I don't think there will be many young female minds that are going to buy into that "woman is closer to nature" crapola.

Some guys might like it though.

quote:

I hate explaining this to somebody who considers themselves open minded.


I'm not saying "don't discuss philosophy" -- I'm saying discuss it critically.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 12, 2004
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quote:

You obviously haven't bothered to read Nietzsche, therefore how do you find it manageable to refute it?


Bad guess...I have read a couple of his works. I found that they lacked substance, though his polemic against Wagner was quite enjoyable.

But here, on this message board, I note what parts of Nietzsche that people quote with admiration or at least interest...and attempt to refute them.

It's hasn't been terribly difficult so far...look at that quote about "women being closer to nature".

It was a common opinion in the 19th century and in the light of present knowledge is utter crapola.

I await still the production of a statement by Nietzsche that actually says something that is clearly both true and useful.

It looks like I'm going to have a long wait.

quote:

What can a philosopher compare something to in order for this "something" to be considered "right"?


Objective reality, of course. What else?

quote:

I think that brilliant Redstar can figure that out.


The "brilliant" Redstar can figure out a great deal...but your incoherent remarks about "truth" nevertheless elude his understanding.

Yes, truth is a "human concept"...but objective reality either confirms or falsifies that concept.

Of course if you wish to maintain that objective reality either does not exist or is inherently unknowable, then that terminates the discussion.

quote:

I believe that most that read Nietzsche are intrigued by the many opposing interpretations.


Meaning that he was either unable to express his ideas clearly or that he suffered from chronic confusion...occupational hazards for those who seek to be philosophers.

quote:

The members on the board are not ones that idolize him as with the majority of the members of Che-Lives versus [sic] Mr. Guevara.


For "better or worse", Che has become an "icon" for rebellious adolescents. They could have picked a lot worse.

But, in time, those who are serious read Marx and Engels...and learn useful stuff about how the real world works.

I don't think people have "idolized" Neitzche...but I do think that some have failed to read him critically.

quote:

Above all, the man was a psychologist.


I'm still waiting to see credible evidence for that claim. He may well have written "about" psychological matters...that doesn't make him a useful guide to human psychology.

On the other hand, I suppose it might be argued that he was a "good representative" of much of 19th century thought.

But that is for the historians to decide.

quote:

Redstar, let me ask you this: What is your fascination with politics? What drives you to continually acquire information concerning Marxism and that there of?


In order to change reality, one must first understand it. Marx and his methods were "good at that"...and they still are.

"Good", not "perfect". There's always more to learn and comprehend and put to the test of practice.

But up to now, at least, Marxism does it "better" than any alternative paradigms that I'm aware of.

It's quite likely, of course, that a truly superior paradigm will eventually emerge; it will probably include Marxism as a "special case"...but will be far more extensive and explain social phenomena far more deeply and usefully.

Newton had his Einstein; Marx still awaits his.

quote:

Why can you not respect another's?


I do indeed respect a "thirst for knowledge"...I just hate to see people "waste their time" in pursuit of unsubstantiated assertions.

Someone who studies "holy books" uncritically is gaining "knowledge" but is not gaining knowledge. They can quote all the "prophets" correctly...but have no clue why the prophecies all turned out to be crap.

The same often seems to be the case with students of philosophy. Not always...but often.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 12, 2004
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quote:

He judged everything based on the aesthetics of a culture. Greece was great, not because it was ever "democratic," but because it produced great artists. Nietzsche...considered the greatest artists to be produced from social inequality and social hierarchy.


That might or might not be true; so what?

The resentment of social inequality and social hierarchy is not an aesthetic judgment.

Freedom from wage-slavery is worth more than all the art ever made or that ever will be made...put together!

quote:

We should also not miss the great psychological points most of Nietzsche’s writings make.


Yeah, like that "women being closer to nature" crapola that you posted.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 11, 2004
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quote:

You are forgetting, Redstar, that Nietzsche wasn't interested in the idea of class; people here discuss his ideas, they aren't necessarily accepting them.


I'm not criticizing Nietzsche because he wasn't a Marxist; I'm suggesting that his formula of "art comes from social hierarchy" is one that devalues art to the level of useless encumbrance and obstacle to our liberation.

In fact, you know who furnishes a perfect example...

quote:

Freedom from wage-slavery is not worth more than a third rate translation of War and Peace, let alone all art ever made.


As long as this poor sap is entertained, he doesn't feel the chains on his own body...or in his own mind.

(Of course, it's possible that he's a "rich kid" and will never be a wage slave...then his comment would make a kind of sense.)

What is beginning to irritate me a little about this forum is not "discussion of ideas" but the failure to critically discuss those ideas.

When you read some quip from Nietzsche, do you stop and ask yourself: is this true?

Or do you "suspend disbelief"...as if you were reading a novel?

quote:

...we move on and discuss his thought because that is what philosophy is about.


I disagree. Philosophy as a summary of "great thoughts" would be about as useful as a book-length collection of Kant's grocery lists.

Philosophy is critical or it's just a waste of time.

quote:

He was considered for a long time, before being called a philosopher, a psychologist because his insights were so good, but hey, he didn't like women so he is worthless eh! Good on ya Redstar.


What are the merits of his "psychological insights" in the light of the fact that he "didn't like women"? That's half the human species, you may recall.

How would you evaluate my claims to having "good psychological insights" if I prefaced them with a startling assertion: men suck!?

As usual, by the way, the irrationalist has called me a "dogmatist"...and, as usual, he's right.

The fact that I decline to accept any of his irrationalist dogmatism is "proof" that I am, indeed, "confirmed in sin".

I predict that sooner or later he will "find God" (with his username, he's got a head start)...and cease to trouble us with his visions of a new dark age.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 12, 2004
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quote:

Art does not "come from social hierarchy" in Nietzsche’s view.


I quoted you...this is what you wrote:

quote:

He judged everything based on the aesthetics of a culture. Greece was great, not because it was ever "democratic," but because it produced great artists. Nietzsche...considered the greatest artists to be produced from social inequality and social hierarchy. -- emphasis added.


Are you confused...or was Nietzsche?

quote:

Liberation is not a state of being, it is an act of being; therefore, there is no "liberation," in terms of "the promise land," in the way you use it.


Prior to 1865, black people in the Confederacy were owned by white people. After 1865, that was no longer the case.

Clearly a dramatic change in their "state of being".

quote:

Art has no "use," as Wilde said, your idea that it should "motivate social outcomes" is ridiculous and against the artistic spirit...


I suppose it would be "ridiculous"...if I had said it.

Unfortunately, I didn't.

I do have a definite personal preference for art that is highly critical of the prevailing social order...but I don't "universalize" my preferences in that regard.

quote:

"Critical discussion" in your sense means to dismiss all ideas which do not fit into your dogmatic belief system.


Dismiss? When I simply argue that assertions should be met with the simple question: does that make sense?

You are always free to put forward arguments and evidence to support the assertions of Nietzsche or any other irrationalist...why have you not done so in the case of that "woman is closer to nature" crapola?

Or pick something else. Pick your favorite Nietzsche quote and then defend it!

Show us why it is "really true", "really insightful", really "hits the nail on the head".

You can call me a "dogmatist" all you want...but until you offer something more substantive, what do you expect me to do?

"Oh, you really like this one, so it must be true."

In your dreams.

quote:

He did not dislike women, I don’t even know where you get this idiocy from.


From another Nietzsche fan, of course.

quote:

...but hey, he didn't like women so he is worthless eh! Good on ya Redstar.


Of course when Nietzsche wrote "When thou goest to woman to teach, forget not thy whip", it's a pretty safe assumption that he didn't exactly have a real high opinion of female intellectual capacity.

quote:

I have stated nothing which is "irrational," in the sense that it is not logical.


The problem is not with your "logic" -- it is your premises that are irrational.

quote:

As Jung once said, Nietzsche’s writings are for psychologists, not for the masses who are easily corrupted.


Oh, I don't know. I read Nietzsche and he didn't "corrupt" me.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 12, 2004
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Well, if women "are intelligent", then why does Nietzsche need a whip to teach them?

Why didn't he say "women are intelligent", but "if you have to teach something to a man, bring your whip"?

How about this for an alternative explanation: Nietzsche didn't have a clue about gender "characteristics". He was just recycling 19th century romanticist platitudes.

Is that too "harsh"?
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 13, 2004
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quote:

[Nietzsche's] interest is in cultural spirituality regardless of the state of affairs that a society finds itself in.


Ok, we have a problem right from the beginning. What is "cultural spirituality"?

What is it supposed to mean? How and why does it change from one historical era to another?

quote:

Also Nietzsche marks a departure from the Romantic period and is essentially reacting against Victorian morals...


Is he? It strikes me that there is much of 19th century romanticism in what he has to say.

quote:

Nietzsche avoided this by short aphorisms and quick dips into thought.


There's nothing inherently wrong with that as method...in fact, it's exactly what we do on a message board.

That doesn't change the fact that the aphorism, however witty, must stand the test of critical examination. Neither he nor you can slide by with "oh, I didn't actually mean that; I was just trying to be thought-provoking".

Imagine how I would get roasted if I said something brazenly stupid and, when called on it, tried to get by with "I was just being thought-provoking".

quote:

When he says bring your whip, he means that he believes women enjoy men dominating them.


Does he indeed. Do women really "enjoy" being dominated by men? Did he make a true statement?

And how do you reconcile that aphorism with this one?

quote:

The more womanly a woman is, the more she fights tooth and nail against rights in general. The natural order of things, the eternal war between the sexes, assigns her by far the foremost rank.


Thus women not only "enjoy" being dominated by men, but they "enjoy" it especially because they "know" they are truly "superior" to those that dominate them.

Whether you chose to "interpret" this sort of thing literally or symbolically hardly seems to make any difference; it is a hopeless muddle that is completely unsubstantiated.

quote:

Nietzsche, however, isn't a social commentator; he is trying to provoke at every turn reactions about every topic.


If I "interpret" your statement correctly, you're saying that he didn't mean a word of what he actually said.

I don't know...perhaps he was completely wacko all along.

quote:

His philosophy is a critical analysis of culture.His demands of science, religion and morality ask for a completely new orientation of the modern consciousness.


In isolation, that's publisher's babble...what you find on the book jacket to get you to buy the book.

What "completely new orientation"?

The devil is always in the details.

quote:

...I just feel [Nietzsche] is getting a hard time, and some people will believe anything you say, Redstar, that it becomes necessary to make posts like this.


People should read what I say just as critically as they read anyone else; obviously there's little I can do if someone just "believes everything I say is true".

But yes, I am giving Nietzsche a "hard time"...I think he's earned it.

quote:

I would like you to prove to me Nietzsche was a fascist...


Nietzsche died several decades prior to the rise of fascism as a "coherent" doctrine. The Nazis borrowed some of his more colorful expressions ("the blond beast", "the superman", etc.) to illustrate their own ideological fantasies...but it's a matter of historical record that Nietzsche himself was contemptuous of both anti-semitism and German nationalism...assuming that he "meant" what he "said" on those occasions, at least.

I think it is fair to say that he was one of the sources of fascist ideology...but very far from an important one. The entire corpus of 19th century romanticism had, I think, a fascist "undertone". There were many intellectual "sources" of fascism and its Nazi variant.

Probably much more important than Nietzsche in this respect was the rise of "racial science" in the U.S. and England in the first quarter of the 20th century.

But I'm not giving Nietzsche a "hard time" because he was a minor-league "proto-fascist"...but rather because what he had to say makes no sense.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 13, 2004
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quote:

Right, and those were...?


On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo if memory serves me...it was a long time ago.

The only thing that actually sticks in my mind, as I noted earlier, was his very amusing and delightful attack on Richard Wagner.

Perhaps Nietzsche should have stuck to being a music critic.

quote:

Redstar, either you haven't read any Nietzsche, or you lack the capacity to interpret what he writes. Nearly every word in your last post proves this point, so choose one or the other.


Either you're a mindless Nietzsche groupie or you lack all appreciation for rational thought, so choose, one or the other.

quote:

Objectivists really put a smile on my face.


Always happy to please.

quote:

How can you prove objective reality exists away from your own interpretation?


When I interact with the real world, it responds "as if" my interpretation is correct. If that doesn't happen, then I have to assume that I'm wrong; reality is always right.

quote:

So while an individual may believe in objectivism, you must realize that for the entire spectrum of mankind, and human thought, subjective reality prevails.


No, it does not prevail. Put your subjective understanding of reality to the test and see how the real world responds!

quote:

...this is direct proof that Nietzsche was a psychologist first and foremost.


What is? That he couldn't express his ideas clearly or that he was simply confused?

quote:

I wouldn't expect you to be able to interpret what he writes as psychology, as that is the point.


The point is that he's writing about psychology while disguising the fact that he's writing about psychology???

Ok.

quote:

Think of it this way: Does a musician write his lyrics about how to develop music?


Is that your argument? That Nietzsche was "like an artist"?

Well, perhaps you're right about that...and we should be discussing him in the Music or Literature forums.

His ideas would still be pretty weak...but "different standards" apply to art.

quote:

Therefore, being a psychologist, why would his theory need to be "A Beginner's Guide to Psychology"?


Well, it would be honest. If I'm not mistaken, modern psychology (such as it is) began around 1900 or so.

quote:

...you obviously don't understand Psychology.


Even now there's not all that much there to understand...it's really still a "borderline" science.

quote:

I can hear it now, and you will come back pointing out how objective reality denounces any of these ideas. So be it, however it does nothing to show your capability of attaining information, and thus proving ignorance.


If objective reality denounces your ideas, my "ignorance" (real or alleged) is irrelevant.

Time does not regress no matter how "cool" you think that would be or what tower of babble you might build on such a conjecture.

Ok, now let's get to the old fraud himself...

quote:

Nobody is very likely to consider a doctrine true merely because it makes people happy or virtuous...


Quite so...especially since there's no evidence that such a doctrine has ever existed.

quote:

There is something about "truth", about the search for truth...


But he never says what.

quote:

...and when a human being is too human about it--"He seeks the true only to do the good."


Incoherent. (Bad translation?)

I infer that "seeking the true only to do the good" does not meet with Nietzsche's approval.

Who knows why.

quote:

Books for all the world are always foul-smelling books; the smell of small people clings to them.


Very "literary"...what is it supposed to mean?

Who are the "small people" who have a different "smell", presumably "foul"?

The working classes in the 19th century actually did "smell bad"...bathing was a luxury, soaps were expensive, and work was hard and sweaty.

And undernourishment in childhood was commonplace...hence adult stature was limited.

"Small people"?

quote:

Where the people eat and drink, even where they venerate, it usually stinks.


Yes, in those days it did.

quote:

One should not go to church if one wants to breathe pure air.


One of those quotes that would appeal very much to adolescent rebels...as it appeals to me.

But the reason is different. The odor of the people offends Nietzsche; the odor of sanctity offends us.

quote:

Cynicism is the only form in which base souls approach honesty; and the higher man must listen closely to every coarse or subtle cynicism...


Almost sounds like Mao: "learn from the people".

Seriously, there are no such things as souls, base or noble.

Nor is there any such thing as a "higher man".

So of what use is this "wisdom"?

quote:

The lover of knowledge should listen subtly and diligently; he should altogether have an open ear wherever people talk without indignation. ... And no one lies as much as the indignant do.


Why should the "indignant" be any more prone to lying than anyone else?

quote:

You know that no philosopher so far has been proved right.


About everything. A few have been proven right about some things.

Marx was right about quite a few things...but still made some gross errors.

quote:

I shall repeat a hundred times; we really ought to free ourselves from the seduction of words!


Rather unlikely as long as he keeps repeating words.

quote:

Let the people suppose that knowledge means knowing things entirely; the philosopher must say to himself; When I analyze the process that is expressed in the sentence, "I think", I find a whole series of daring assertions that would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to prove; for example, that it is I who think, that there must necessarily be something that thinks, that thinking is an activity and operation on the part of being who is thought of as a cause, that there is an "ego", and finally, that it is already determined what is to be designated by thinking--that I know what thinking is.


Yes, the problem of what we really mean when we say that we think we know something is quite thorny and perhaps intractable...but aside from Nietzsche making the reader aware that he is aware of the problem, what does he add of substance?

If I observe that it's raining and reach for my umbrella, the intricacies of epistemology need not concern me.

It's even quite possible that they could be purely semantic (talk about "seduction by words"!). That is, they could be "questions" that conform to the conventions of both grammar and philosophy...and yet have no real world referents at all.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 13, 2004
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quote:

Considering I do lack appreciation for rational thought, when rational thought is only rational to each individual; it'd be fair to say you've got me.


Candor is always welcome...but what else is there left to say?

quote:

Reality is that of the individual mind.


Nope. It's "out there", existing independently of individual minds. And it's knowable.

quote:

What your debate skills lack is that of playing devil's advocate.


Possibly because I'm not in favor of the "devil".

Also possibly because I'm not playing.

quote:

Nietzsche wrote in the style that he did in order to capture the reader.


Fortunately, I had a "lucky escape".

So do most people.

quote:

Nietzsche was quite the character, and I interpret him to be caught in a fancy of his own self.


Yeah...but you admire him for this mental narcissism; I find it tedious and uninformative.

quote:

While I don't "rationally" follow the belief that time regresses, I'd love for you to prove that it doesn't.


While most processes at the subatomic level can take place in either "direction", there are some that are unidirectional.

They only go "forward" in time...never "backwards".

quote:

Think above where you are thinking, and reach to the highest point. There you will find the final "truth", in which there are no "truths".


Hopeless babble.

Here's a truth that even you should be able to grasp: deprive yourself of oxygen for 4 or 5 minutes and your brain will die!

This truth is entirely without regard to your "subjective belief" that you don't need to breathe in order to live.

The number of objectively true statements is very large and growing very rapidly.

It doesn't matter what you think is "subjectively true"...what matters is what is real.

quote:

I will not proceed to reiterate the known if you proceed to lack understanding.


Promise?

quote:

And thus spoke the little old woman, "You are going to women? Do not forget the whip."


I see. Neitzsche places his opinion in a fictional woman's mouth and that makes it "ok"???

To be honest, I was unaware of the context of the infamous quotation. I don't see that it makes any difference at all.

But thanks for the footnote.
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 14, 2004
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quote:

Well, you see, take the story of Zarathustra; the old women is just somebody he meets along the way who expresses that opinion, it has no effect on the story or has anything to do with Nietzsche's philosophy, Thus Spake Zarathustra is like a parable...


Or perhaps it represents Nietzsche's desire to give his odious sister a taste of the lash.

If you want to treat Nietzsche as a novelist...that's a different discussion. It's also one that would "shut me up" fairly quickly -- as I'm not skilled in dissecting literary works.

quote:

...but you will have to concede even just on this quote that you were wrong and please don't use it in [the] future.


Agreed.

quote:

Our "subjective" reasoning is therefore what "forms" the world in our "minds," not "direct links to the objective reality."


I have no problem with putting the matter in this way; there's no such thing as vision without eyes or ideas without minds.

But note carefully that this is not what he was saying; his view is that subjective reality is the only one there is.

As to Nietzsche's opinion on the matter, I defer to your superior knowledge.

quote:

I admire his ability to produce thoughts which are not expressed by others, meaning he developed an individuated Self.


There's an old quip from somebody that may serve as a reply: "What's true there is not original and what's original there is not true."

quote:

You just can’t stop being a jackass, can you?


No more than you could write a post that didn't contain at least one gratuitous insult. It would not surprise me to learn that you have "hotkeys" programmed to send them forth as "needed"...

F1 = idiot, F2 = moron, F3 = arrogant cunt, F4 = jackass, etc.

If I'm mistaken about that, you should try it. It would allow you to think even less about what you write than you do now...approaching your goal of 100% invective and 0% rational content.

No wonder you admire Nietzsche.

quote:

Leaving out the biggest points in my post seems to indicate that you do not know how to respond.


Well, there is a lot that you say that I do not know how to respond to...although I think I did respond to the salient points as much as I could grasp them.

The "signal-to-noise" ratio in your posts is very poor...as was the case with Nietzsche himself.

Is there any reason not to speak clearly?
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First posted at Che-Lives on May 14, 2004
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