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Nietzsche: the cheerful black cloud

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  • George Walton
    Keith Ansell Pearson from How to Read Nietzsche: Nietzsche clearly wishes to promote the cultivation of a new spiritual maturity that will enable us to deal
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 3, 2005
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      Keith Ansell Pearson from How to Read Nietzsche:

      "Nietzsche clearly wishes to promote the cultivation of a new spiritual maturity that will enable us to deal adequately with the new situation in which we find ourselves [the death of God] and not be overcome by disillusionment and despair. In his earlier text, Human, All Too Human he mentions the need in a post-metaphysical age for the requisite temperment, namely, a cheerful soul. Indeed, throughout his writings, from first to last, Nietzsche can be found wrestling with the meaning of his cheerfulness. The German word in The Gay Science is Heiterkeit, used ironically in the sense of 'that's going to be fun', as for example, when out on a walk, you watch a huge black cloud approaching and foresee getting drenched. You go on the walk even though you know that risks are involved. The way in which Nietzsche presents his cheerfulness...clearly contains something of this sense, indicating a spirit of adventure and fearlessness with regard to the pursuit of knowledge. His cheerfulness has
      many hidden depths and dimensions. It explains the peculiar sense of distance he himself feels in relation to the monstrous event of the death of the Christian God."



      There are black clouds...and then there are the black clouds. Dispel the one inside your head and the ones you see out on the horizon are nearly always much easier to conquer and dispense with. But sooner or later you will happen upon a cloud so tumultuous...so utterly pitch black...that all the cheerfulness in the world won't put even a dent in it; let all alone lance it.

      Nietzsche recognizes the death of God liberates us from any deontological duties or obligations. We are free to plot our own way. Or far freer than those who feel compelled to justify what they do as being in accordance with either God or his secular i.e. ideological [Objectivism, Marxism etc] equivalent.

      But as to whether this will instill cheerfulness in us is always predicated on the profoundly problematic and circumstantial nature of the black clouds at hand. We all have our own unique breaking point. Sometimes we shrink the clouds and sometimes the clouds shrink us. Thus cheerfulness is usually a psychological state born out of experience and not a philosphical platform upon which we order experience like someone conducting an orchaestra.

      Nietzsche was said to be a yes men. He said yes to life. He said yes to adventure...to the fearless exploration of human existence. Indeed, the ubermensch would be inconceivable if he or she did not embrace life and living to the utmost. But you can only manage to sustain philosophical and psychological cheerfulness [whilst conquering the world] when the world is not in the midst of conquering you.

      In other words, philosophy, it might be said, revolves around reflecting on where you happen to find yourself situated inside this problematic tug of war. Great philosophy, on the other hand, revolves around the moment you realize it is you who are tugging at both ends of the rope. You are the rope in fact. Or, for some of us [those embedded in the most tumultuous and blackest of clouds], what is left of it.

      So: is that a more or less "knowledgable" assessment of Nietzsche's "cheerful" human condition?



      george













      ---------------------------------
      Yahoo! FareChase - Search multiple travel sites in one click.

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    • jkneilson
      Thus cheerfulness is usually a psychological state born out of experience and not a philosphical platform upon which we order experience like someone
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 3, 2005
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        Thus cheerfulness is usually a psychological
        state born out of experience and not a philosphical platform upon
        which we order
        experience like someone conducting an orchaestra.

        [...]

        So: is that a more or less "knowledgable" assessment of
        Nietzsche's "cheerful"
        human condition?

        # # #

        This is a great take on cheerfulness. It got me thinking. With the
        death of God, we are indeed free from deontological duties. But we
        still have duties, if only to ourselves and other noble-minded
        spirits. In fact, a whole range of values figure prominently in
        Nietzsche's ethical assessment of "good" and "bad" people. These
        values include integrity, humor, fearlessness, optimism,
        cheerfulness, and self-mastery. Above all, Nietzsche values a
        strong, powerful will, a healthy will. My question is this, why be
        moral (in Nietzsche's sense)? Why be good? Why is it better to be a
        healthy Greek than a sick Christian?

        Normatively impaired, K

        P.S.: If the source of normativity in Nietzsche is a strong, healthy
        will, perhaps cheerfulness is more than a psychological state. Maybe
        it's a "philosophical platform," from which we can regulate
        (or "orchestrate") our ideas, our beliefs, our lives.

        Just a thought.

        Cheers,
        K
      • trop_de_simones
        Hi K, I have a basically cheerful disposition. When I am not able* to be cheerful I often condemn myself, forgetting that it is okay to be myself, my other
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 4, 2005
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          Hi K,

          I have a basically cheerful disposition. When I am not able* to be
          cheerful I often condemn myself, forgetting that it is okay to be
          myself, my other self too.

          The many values you mention are contingent upon our unique abilities
          which are usually genetically predisposed, environmental nurture,
          environmental pathology, etc. But the ability to ovecome our lack of
          motivation or interest in acquiring such values is also contingent.

          Perhaps Winnie the Pooh with his cheerful little black cloud and
          Charlie Brown and his nemesis Lucy Van Pelt are about as close as we
          happier folks can expect things to be, at least in this neighborhood.

          We are capable of that which we are able to capable of being able!!
          And sometimes, we just do not care. That is okay too, right?

          Philosophy loses its mission when it claims we should all be of the
          same cloth. How boring is that? How impossible? Just how long of a
          thread would that have to be?

          Simone

          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jkneilson" <jkneilson@y...> wrote:
          >
          > Thus cheerfulness is usually a psychological
          > state born out of experience and not a philosphical platform upon
          > which we order
          > experience like someone conducting an orchaestra.
          >
          > [...]
          >
          > So: is that a more or less "knowledgable" assessment of
          > Nietzsche's "cheerful"
          > human condition?
          >
          > # # #
          >
          > This is a great take on cheerfulness. It got me thinking. With the
          > death of God, we are indeed free from deontological duties. But we
          > still have duties, if only to ourselves and other noble-minded
          > spirits. In fact, a whole range of values figure prominently in
          > Nietzsche's ethical assessment of "good" and "bad" people. These
          > values include integrity, humor, fearlessness, optimism,
          > cheerfulness, and self-mastery. Above all, Nietzsche values a
          > strong, powerful will, a healthy will. My question is this, why be
          > moral (in Nietzsche's sense)? Why be good? Why is it better to be a
          > healthy Greek than a sick Christian?
          >
          > Normatively impaired, K
          >
          > P.S.: If the source of normativity in Nietzsche is a strong,
          healthy
          > will, perhaps cheerfulness is more than a psychological state.
          Maybe
          > it's a "philosophical platform," from which we can regulate
          > (or "orchestrate") our ideas, our beliefs, our lives.
          >
          > Just a thought.
          >
          > Cheers,
          > K
          >
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