A Rather Self-Interested Request
I have a little favor to ask of ya. I’m trying to write a paper for my Nietzsche class, and here’s the proposal for it. Whatcha think? Give me some feedback! Rip it to shreds! Or coddle my ego… either way, I’d like to hear as many perspectives on it as I may in order to write the best paper that I may. And, if you wouldn’t mind, I have an added layer of amusement. Following the paper proposal is my conception for the real project. So, also tell me how I may fine tune this proposal to better fit my full message. Aight! Here it goes:
The purpose of this paper is to explore the two-fold apology that Nietzsche provides in his An Attempt at Self-Criticism. I will argue that on one hand, he acknowledges how his approach to The Birth of Tragedy discredits and completely disallows his original questions, alongside his primal purpose in writing the book. Though on the other hand, Nietzsche finds a way to use his own tragic irony to his advantage. He achieves this in three steps, each one retroactively referencing the evolution of misjudgments beget by the most tragic of loves imaginable: his first. Each step is marked by the event of his first inspiration, and in retracing his steps, he not only atones for his first fall, but justifies it; rejoices in it; and unearths his heart, still beating, from the grounds of confusion constituted by the riddles radiating from its inner chamber. His purpose proudly pumping ever the more vigilant; his pride restored, all because he possessed the nerve to positively expound upon the negative grounds of human futility. And in some ways, he achieves his fullest truths.
His first misjudgment: allowing himself to be swept away by the charismatic airs of confident music, without fully realizing the nature of its wild instabilities, covering over its cause with charm. His first misapplication of this first misjudgment: dividing the drives of Greek Tragedy into two, and claiming that the one with the highest, most privileged optic from which to measure reality was founded on music and drunkenness. His second misapplication: claiming that the symbolic expression of music, owned by the Dionysian drive, wields the power of pure Will; and is strong enough to direct it directly beneath the feet of its Apollinian counterpart, take command of its cadence, and completely change, from the ground up, its whole worldview. And his third misapplication: finding full fault in the Apolline for the whole of Greek Tragedy’s rather tragic demise; for music’s captive state of shame and punishment; for man’s modern toil to the gain of nothing.
He then begins his critique in recapitulation of his original cry. And upon pushing through the pain, finds blame for his misjudgment within his own hubris. He questions his assumptions concerning the spirit and role of the Dionysian, while still finding some truth to them. He questions his motives in adorning music as the sovereign art among all art, fit to lead it’s entire empire into its manifest destiny. Such actions lead him to not only to misunderstand the optic of art, but his own optic throne; bestowed upon him by his own hands, moved like a marionette by the metaphysical pulls of a mysterious madman, sickened by the culture he condemns. The Apolline, so to speak, strikes back, and pushes the buttons that the Dionysian proudly bore upon its tragic stage- using its music against it.
But in doing so, the Apolline reveals its own weakness. The Dionysian touches a nerve. Though its enraptured instrument leads to its own shameful exposure, and thus exposed, hides itself from all prying eyes, it disrobes the Apolline pretense as well. They have something in common. And for decades, while the Dionysian spirit stews and festers over its fallen state, the Apolline detracts from its own nudity with moral purpose. After decades of stewing, the Dionysian now has the strength to completely expose the Apolline for all to see. But maybe this time, with a re-birth of spirit, it may do so in a more progressive manner. The Dionysian spirit, from the start, makes fun of itself, and provides a model of spirited critique so that the Apolline doesn’t have to. This extension of brotherhood may even pave the way for a gay science, grounded by the equality of science and art. Whether this equality is achievable is hard to say, especially if tragedy marks some sort of essential, eternally recurring misjudgment built into the structures of human experience. But if the natural sciences can learn to laugh at themselves, learn to not take themselves too seriously, they may be more inclusive; and work alongside other subjective methods, as equal partners, for a fuller understanding of the human, all too human affairs which grounds their own pursuits.
From beneath my being stirs a commotion, and I swear it’s not hot gas. No, it’s more absolute than that. This is something fibrous, complex; something worthy of my highest inspection. But alas! The light of my eyes cannot quite distend into its opaque source- for my soul, my very body is too bloated with the aired assurance of eternal life accompanying the prophetically pending good news! I need to share this adorned message with the world, as it is, as a whole; as this news applies to all of it! I want to shout it from the rooftops- nay, the mountaintops! The highest mountaintop, whether real or imagined! But wait… I can’t be too sure of when this moral end will arrive… Do I just sit here and wait? I don’t want to be caught idle, caught with my pants down, caught entertaining sweet nothings when this purpose finally decides to pass judgment upon my lowly determinations. I must sacrifice my greatest capabilities in its honor, as it is the least that I could do. In return, I’ll have the innermost, best kept secrets of life, itself- I’ve won the heart of wisdom! The pot I’ve found is gold!
But how am I to assemble my capabilities? I need them all at once! Simultaneously! But what method is is best? Which is more efficient? For time is ripe, I can feel it. What was that grumble? Is that a trumpet’s cry? Yes, this is it! The rhythm of its coming is surely set, it’s prominent pulse an ostenato for my reflection. I have no choice but to align myself with it. And the best way for all my players to syncopate and subdivide crisp, real tight, I’ll count my blessings by two. Yes. The number two is perfect! I’ll engender them with difference, and they’ll separate in time; and with time, they’ll create a polyrhythm, their timing overlapped! Through this rhythm they’ll freely play, and build through this action a realistic representation of my naturally given talents; working together in harmony, as it is indubitably ordained to be!
And now, with my structure secured, here they be! My players and pleased purpose unified as one, exploding onto the scene; to my relief, my highest revelation! My did this come quick! Thank goodness, itself, for such an efficient method! What a beautiful scene below me! What a shame I still can’t see it, but I’m grateful to at least feel and hear the encaptured rapture! But, oh dear, what is this? Is that mere horseplay I hear? Or are things getting rough down there? I just can’t say from this position. I cannot wrap my mind around the source of this commotion, so I have no choice but to let the issue play itself out. This play is, after all, reasonably given- from the highest demands of pure reason, for it is absolutely given! Praise be being here to birth that which is right and mighty into existence! Praise being which bestows the best of all possible co-modes of symbolic expression! Praise bei-ohhhh no! No! There is something rotten going on down there! There is no more question about it! Those are shrieks of grief and terror! I can no longer stay seated while this chance for glory is ruined! Let me off this throne! Let me lie myself down from these forceful heights, lie in humble reverence on my grounds, gather my thoughts, and mine alone, so that I may respectfully face these rambunctious representations; so that I can handle this mess like a lady.
Gasp! This scene… is a bloody-wretching disaster! One half rages in a drunken frenzy, while the other schemes and plots in the corner- that is until now! Now the drunken, oblivious to their own actions, beckon the plot to thicken; they are tough enough, strong enough, loud enough for a fight, they cry. Oh dear! One half thus provoked, a war begins before my very eyes; which are no longer prepared; thusly pried, no longer lady-like. They are literally feeding off of each other, entangling themselves in each others’ fangs; now swirling, along with the room. Dear heavens! What in the actual world is happening? No! What devil, what demon, what realm beyond that of my control has sanctioned this debacle?! I have been tricked! I have been duped! Let me flush this sight from my eyes, before I have a chance to remember it! Shew! It’s gone, and the devil with it.
Ah! But this scene still plagues my cognition! Still haunts my body, now convulsing in convoluted confusion!
How, why, for what reason did I allow this to pass?! This tragic misjudgment! I am so ashamed. I offered up my best and was rejected. I offered up my best to a bestial purpose, and tainted my courtship with entrails of doom! Wisdom denied my love. I must try and earn it back! NO- l WILL earn it back! And I will share that love! All will come to know it! All will know my truth! As soon as I cleanse myself of this wasted movement, staining the floor with what’s passed…
So make of this what you will! I wanna hear it, whatever you’ve got! I appreciate all of the continued support, hope this finds ya well!
hearts ‘n crap,
Copyright Keli Birchfield 2015