Thursday, February 24, 2011


I was reading through some of the sections in "Plural Speech" (I didn't get to finish it all because I didn't have enough time), and I was really struck by how much one could relate Blanchot to Derrida. If any one else read through it, did you think there were similarities between Blanchot's ideas on speech/language and Derrida's ideas on language being "Differance"? Even if you didn't read it, there are copious parts in the Limit-Experience were Blanchot expresses similar thoughts. For instance, in the first section on Heraclitus, Blanchot says of Heraclitus' sentences, "Each sentence is a cosmos, a minutely calculated arrangement whose terms are relations of extreme tension, never indifferent to their place or figure, but rather disposed as though aiming at a secret Difference they do no more than indicated by showing, in the form of measure, the changes visible conversions of which the sentence is the isolated site" (87). Is it just me or is there a lot of Derrida or even Foucault in that statement? Certainly like Derrida, Blanchot repeatedly expresses concepts like "difference," "play," "deferment," and the like. I'm sure some of you noticed these similarities. I'm pretty sure I prefer Blanchot to Derrida, though.

Also, I see that Blanchot was born in 1907 and died in 2003. He practically lived the entire fucking century. Impressive.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

genies of morality--

Auditory meditative inducement into THE UNKNOWN

Multiple things I wanted to bring up in regards to the Genealogy

GUT: The ending remark of afro 24---It was like Nietzsche knew what I was thinking all the time and really just said it---From the moment faith in the God of the ascetic idea is denied, A NEW PROBLEM ARISES: THAT OF THE VALUE OF TRUTH


--Walter Kaufmann....I don't think that footnote 14 was really required but thanks for the pointer.

As if I couldn't have been in more agreement with F.N,
Art to say in advance, for I shall some day return to this subject at a greater length--art, in which precisely the lie is the sanctified and the will to deception has a good conscience, is much more fundamentally opposed to the ascetic ideal that is science

Other than this initial rapturous response though--I am interested in gaining some additional perspectives on a particular perspective of the GOM (which hopefully ya'll will respond to...)

A friend of mine who has interests similar in mine, decided to re-read the GOM so that we could have a discussion about it. His first question he posed to me was, "So what do you think a Nietzschean society would look like--what kind of political/societal structure do you think he would support?" Now reading Nietzsche one theme which I have been unsure of how to really deal with is this weak/strong power dynamic... It seems to be (and this person was thinking in terms of) was that this could somehow be interpreted as an Ayn Randian/free-market capitalist situation. So namely Nietzsche would agree with this rhetoric of self-responsibility and the strong survive and prosper/ while the weak might die off. I could see where he was coming from (my interlocutor, a Foucaultdian mind you ) -- and I am interested in seeing what other people's perspective was in this respect.

Anyway, so as this conversation continued, we identified the fact that we had very different interests in as far as how we were reading the text. Namely, I considered how this text affected myself--how I aligned/misaligned with the slave morality. And this is how I usually approach texts--how does this describe/not describe my orientation with the world--is this a way in which I think I should orient myself in the world. While my interlocutor admitted that he immediately thought of how this text would look if everyone viewed the world/knowledge/them"self"ves/others/etc. in this manner. He even quoted the proverb--"do unto others,,,,,,,,,"-and I said well that;s kind of the slave morality and he agreed, that he was not sure if necessarily sure if the slave morality was the wrong way to go.

So long story short, I guess what I am wondering is:

How can this text manifest itself in politics/society?
CAN it be?--This is something which I found myself bringing up in this argument, should we even be trying to think in terms of a "Nietzschean state"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nietzsche (Foucault) and Freud - Morals and Melancholia

The parallels between Nietzsche and Freud, particularly between, on the one hand, the second essay of On the Genealogy of Morals and the section on "The Religious Nature" in Beyond Good and Evil, and on the other hand, the essays "Mourning and Melancholia," "The Uncanny," and later books, such as Beyond the Pleasure Principle, The Ego and the Id and Civilization and its Discontents, are so obvious as to be at once a trivial observation and at the same time sufficient evidence to suggest a relationship of influence.

Tangent: After the death of Paul Rée, Lou Salome then married Friedrich Andreas (who was cool with her liberated ways (she'd simply call herself "polyamorous" today) and never consummated the marriage), and while married had affairs with Rilke and quite possibly Freud (at very least they corresponded extensively). This took place between 1900-1937, so she was a bit of a cougar. Of her lovers, only Freud was her elder - by five years.

To my knowledge, Freud does not mention Nietzsche until at least the time of Beyond The Pleasure Principle - the first name-drop I can think of comes four years later in a footnote to The Ego and the Id. The text to which the note is attached reads:

"Georg Groddeck, who... [insists] that what we call our ego behaves essentially passively in life, and that... we are 'lived' by unknown and uncontrollable forces.. I propose to take it into account by calling the entity which starts out from the system Pcpt. and begins by being Pcs. the 'ego', and by following Groddeck in calling the other part of the mind, into which this entity extens and which behaves as though it were Ucs, the 'id.' (12)

(12) Groddeck himself no doubt followed the example of Nietzsche, who habitually used this grammatical term for whatever in our nature is impersonal and, so to speak, subject to natural law." (Standard Edition, pg. 17)
It appears that Freud was evidently quite familiar with Nietzsche by this point, and had from an early date a great interest in philosophy. While I have yet to verify the cited texts, the wikipedia article on Freud claims that: 
"Freud read Friedrich Nietzsche as a young student, and bought his collected works in 1900, the year of Nietzsche's death; Freud told Fliess that he hoped to find in Nietzsche "the words for much that remains mute in me." According to Peter Gay, however, Freud treated Nietzsche's writings "as texts to be resisted far more than to be studied"; immediately after reporting to Fliess that he had bought Nietzsche's works, Freud added that he had not yet opened them."
Not so fast. I think that's a bit of a stretch. Doubtless to support the subsequent claim that "students of Freud began to point out analogies between his work and that of Nietzsche almost as soon as he developed a following.[8]" --- The problem is not that there are no analogies of note, but rather a simple matter of intellectual history: only twelve of the nineteen volumes to appear by 1913 of the first collected edition of Nietzsche's Werke had been published by then. That abomination known as "The Will To Power" did not appear until the following year (which was considered legitimate during Freud's lifetime by most (Bataille excepted), and Ecce Homo finally appeared in 1908 (held back for fear of being attributed to madness; both The Antichrist and the public edition of the  fourth volume of Zarathustra were held back until 1895 and 1894 respectively (written 1888 and 1884). While Freud could have had all the volumes extant at the time, the fact remains that he'd have been best served to wait, which I believe he did.

Nevertheless, a relationship of influence is likely in spite of the common cultural/linguistic milieu and Freud's background in  philosophy and his denials. In the first place, Freud's "discussion of the Kantian theorem that time and space are 'necessary forms of thought.'  ...unconscious mental processes are in themselves 'timeless.' This means... that they are not ordered temporally, that time does not change them in any way and that the idea of time cannot be applied to them." (SE 18, pg. 32).

Before I go, let me highlight a couple striking correspondences from the beginning of the second essay of the Genealogy (yeah, I got too into the details).

First - "Inpsychation," memory, conscience, responsibility, etc. call to mind the superego and the process by which it arises in Freud's theory of psychological development.

Second - This quote: "The man in whom this apparatus of repression is damaged and ceases to function properly may be compared with a dyspeptic - he cannot 'have done' with anything.'" Dyspeptic in this usage is very nearly synonymous to "melancholic," and this IS almost verbatim the Freudian theory of melancholia.

What is the nature of Freud's relationship to Kant and Nietzsche's critique? At least from the passage cited.

At last: has anyone read Discipline and Punish before? Doesn't it absolutely REEK of the influence of the Genealogy? (Foucault did write an essay, "Nietzsche Marx Freud")


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

night caffed with michel

Made myself some especially strong coffee at 8 o'clock.....

Our discussion during the last class was a perfect precursor to the Foucault reading. Both Nietzsche and Foucault use this genealogical approach (which is an alternative to the type of history we were speaking about in class) which goes against this myth of the origin. Instead we have the "endlessly repeated play of dominations"--for Foucault (and I gather for Nietzsche as well) the non-focal focus/the question is "how is power working here?" Morality does not originate nor reflect what is "essentially" good or "essentially" bad--to think in this way, to look for a "center" to look for uniformity is to overlook. Morality is the valuation of dominance by the dominant. It is one interpretation.
At a "fundamental" level, l I think that what these texts serve to do is to re-orient the way in which we situate ourselves and the way in which we think/live/exist/eat/breathe/talk/interact. Instead of speaking in terms of "origin" "progress" "truth" "meaning""interpretation" "NORMAL" "totality"--one should instead embrace notions of "displacement" of "rhizomatic" (non-linear) of "montage" of "ambiguity" "non-meaning" "non-truth" "non-knowledge" "abnormal""awkward".

Who is telling you these stories?
"and what value do they themselves posses"? (preface 3 Nietzsche)


Foucault's description of the body in his work, is a conception which I find to be particularly compelling. He reminds us of physicality. "we believe, in any event, that the body obeys exclusive laws of physiology and that it escapes the influence of history, but this too is false. THe body is molded by a great many distinct regimes; it is broken down by the rhythms of work, rest, and holidays; it is poisoned by food or values, through eating or moral laws..." His perspective here is indicative of the genealogical approach-- the same sentiment he supplies here in regard to the body is analogous to the way in which we should think of the mind...of the "soul"...

I was asked I think a question which was something to the effect of what I would suggest instead of history in the traditional academic sense of history--

"Necessarily, we must dismiss those tendencies that encourage the consoling play of RECOGNITIONS. Knowledge...does not depend on "rediscovery" and it emphatically EXCLUDES the "rediscovery of ourselves." History becomes 'effective' to the degree that it INTRODUCES DISCONTINUITY INTO OUR VERY BEING--as it DIVIDES our emotions, dramatizes our instincts, multiplies our body and sets it against itself. 'Effective' history, deprives the self of the reassuring stability of life and nature...IT WILL UPROOT ITS TRADITIONAL FOUNDATIONS AND RELENTLESSLY DISRUPT ITS PRETENDED CONTINUITY. THIS IS BECAUSE KNOWLEDGE IS NOT MADE FOR UNDERSTANDING'; IT IS MADE FOR CUTTING"

This is not just how history should be considered obviously...but anything which we might be tempted to call "knowledge"--"knowledge" of the "self" "other" "object" etc.