art, ascetic ideal, chaos, efficiency, history, humility, illusion, improvement, irony, meaning, Nietzsche, order, problem, religion, resentment, science, socrates, spirit, will to power

The Meaning of Science

What is the Meaning of Science?
Nietzsche and the History of the Human Spirit

What is problematic about science? What does the “progress” of science mean about human beings? I believe this question turns everything which is unsettling, mysterious, and uncanny about the course of human development (and not only human); who can exhaust what is figured within the folds of this strange question — science thought as a symptom, science grasped as a problem?

What obstructs this question from being thought? How do we interpret this ‘secondary’ problem which intervenes at the critical moment to derail thought — this “problem of the problem” of the meaning of science? At any rate it is clear the difficulty we encounter in formulating this problem are manifold, altogether formidable, but taken separately…? For science itself always already understands, justifies, and regulates itself in turn upon the basis of something non-scientific. Science as such is ultimately foundationless, and furthermore, this is one of its necessary conditions. This is a warning for those who would seek to regulate philosophy by means of “scientific” protocol; for these would in turn require their own justification… Which is not to say that such justification exists or should be sought after — but rather to pause right here, so that we can open up our profoundest capabilities of insight in order to ask: what is science as a problem? What is the meaning of science?

We should stop for a moment and reflect upon this question. We are looking for a meaning specific to science, but the meaning of science as it actually operates in history (and not, for instance, an abstract image of “science” considered in isolation of real problems.) We must try to seek the meaning of science in the more general context of human development, and ask what science means for the human species; or even more pointedly, what it means about what the human species has become. This question should be read as signifying science’s concealed meaning-about-us, a partial truth about what we are becoming as a species. The meaning, if we can but attune ourselves to it, indicates something real — albeit darkly, indirectly and only with constant resistance — about the “rate” and “direction” of human development. In this sense the problem of meaning of science reveals a way to diagnose civilization itself.

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apparatus of capture, genealogy, Nietzsche, nihilism, nomads, overman, Politics, state, warrior, will to power, Zarathustra

Zarathustra and Genealogy: Where the State Ceases…

surrealistic-images01.jpgIn Book 1 of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, there is a speech on the state (“Of the New Idol”) that is surrounded by a speech on war and the warrior prior to it and also a speech “On the Flies of the Marketplace” following it. All three speeches in a way need to be read together (not only in order but also juxtaposed in other ways) to be fully understood. Having said that, I want to bracket these other two sections off (keeping them in mind) while focusing solely on Zarathustra’s short discourse on the state. The speech begins:

There are still peoples and herds somewhere, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states.

The state? What is that? Well then! Now open your ears, for now I shall speak to you of the death of peoples.

The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly, it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth: ‘I, the state, am the people.’

It is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.

It is destroyers who set snares for many and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred desires over them.

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culture, difference, God, grammar, human, labor, literature, Nietzsche, Politics, power, text, theory, will to power

The Power to Will: Nietzsche and Becoming Free

Reaching Out

The will to power is not essentially political; it aims beyond politics towards a more subtle possession. The will to power is articulated as a higher expression of the will to live, as opposed to the will to survive. It is the will to exercise power. Its primary function is to be functional, that is: dynamic, active and creative. This kind of willing indicates not a static ideal will rather an energetic, even libidinal force to overcome, to dominate one’s environment as well as to exploit and control others. Importantly, the will to power does not function as some kind of pure essence of vitality, even less an aesthetic ‘taste’ or ethical harmony.

Rather, it is struggle itself, the will to raise oneself up, out joyfully from nothingness, into higher and more rarefied regions of becoming. It is not a duty, but a desire to feel energy being actively employed; it is the surging of this power itself. It aims to transcend but is not itself therefore transcendent; rather, the will to power is material, and always more concrete, more real than we are comfortable admitting. The will to power is our desire to possess, to exploit, to dominate, to control. Hence the primary articulation of the will to power is as a singular thrust rather than a multiplicity of drives. Though clearly each will struggles against every other, ultimately every will struggles against itself, operates upon itself, upon its own form or nature in order to improve itself, to overcome.
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