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“I Am Not a Man, I Am Dynamite” : Peter Sloterdijk on Nietzsche

Peter Sloterdijk is one of the most controversial thinkers in the world. In many ways, he is the heir of Friedrich Nietzsche, who is sometimes said to have inaugurated the 20th century. On Entitled Opinions, host Robert Harrison opens his discussion with Sloterdijk with the sound of an explosion, and Nietzsche’s words, “I am not […]

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This is KCSU, Stanford.
Welcome to entitled opinions.
My name is Robert Harrison, and we're coming to you from the Stanford campus.
As the winter solstice bears down upon us,
my guest and I have descended into the catacombs of KCSU today
for a special edition of entitled opinions,
a one-time show in the midst of our hiatus before our regular broadcast
resumes this coming spring.
Something to warm you up at that time of year in our nation's history
when yellow leaves or none or few do hang upon those bows
that shake against the cold.
It's a special reach out to all of you,
but especially to my fellow Americans who listen to this show on a regular
basis and who probably feel that they'll never wake up in a good mood again.
I'm not here to put you in a good mood following our presidential elections,
but to do what we always do on this radio program,
to practice the persecuted religion of thinking,
to think in the midst of the wasteland,
to make sure the wasteland doesn't grow within.
The wasteland keeps growing without, and sometimes there's nothing we can do about that.
Our job is to make sure that the wasteland doesn't grow within.
That's why we descend into the nether world of KCSU.
That's why we keep entitled opinions going,
and that's why we come to you with a zero-thruestrian gift this December day
and no domaine 2016.
It's a real pleasure for me to welcome the philosopher Peter Sloderdike to our show today.
Peter Sloderdike is the author of many outstanding works, including the critique of cynical reason,
the spheres trilogy, and you must change your life.
He has spent the past month here at Stanford, and I was not about to let him return to Germany,
later this week, without bringing his voice to all of you who are part of the ongoing
conversation of entitled opinions.
He is one of the living philosophers who I admire the most and whom I read with real pleasure,
and I'm grateful to him for joining us today to talk about a thinker
who is as much a part of Sloderdike's DNA as he is of mine.
I mean our comrade Frederick Nietzsche.
There are any number of topics that Sloderdike and I could have engaged,
but we agreed to devote this show to the evangelist who in Echeoomo declared,
"I am not a man, I am dynamite."
I apologize to my guests for talking to myself for a moment there.
It's an occasional vice of mine.
Before I succumb to further temptations, let me promptly welcome him to the program.
Peter Sloderdike, thank you kindly for joining us today on entitled opinions.
It's my honor. Thank you so much.
So our topic, as I mentioned, is Frederick Nietzsche, and I have just finished reading this splendid little book you wrote,
called Nietzsche Apostle, at least that's a title in English.
That was published in English in 2013, but it was first came out in Germany in the year 2000,
on the 100th anniversary of Nietzsche's death.
And I suppose I'd like to begin our conversation by asking you what exactly you mean when you speak of Nietzsche as an apostle.
The answer is quite simple.
Nietzsche had very high ambitions, and he asked an elementary question,
"Who was the most faithful person in this three of Western mankind?"
And the answer he gave by himself to himself was that this person was obviously Saint Paul,
whom he took for the real founder of Christianity.
So only Saint Paul, who is at the same time the man who invented the role,
of the Holy Grail as such.
I will tell a couple of words about that in a minute.
He was a man with whom he had to look for a match.
He was really willing to overcome the tradition of classical religious metaphysics.
He was Saint Paul's most faithful person in his three, according to him.
And if it were possible to undo from some point of use, this effect that Saint Paul had created,
he would change the course of history.
According to Nietzsche, Saint Paul brought genius into resentment, elevated resentment,
up to a level from which it could became a gospel.
That was for him a faithful maneuver, that he wanted to undo.
Do you believe that the figure of Jesus is secondary in Nietzsche's mind to Paul?
He would rather be able to live with Nietzsche than with Saint Paul,
because for Jesus it is absolutely not clear if he had a universalist message.
Jesus seems to be an elitist.
He talks to those who can understand, and there is not necessarily this general horizon
that came in through his message, through the encounter between the Gospels and the evangelical messages,
and the Greek philosophy.
Only when these two languages met his other, and this meeting began in Paul's writings,
and were taken up in the force gospel, that was written later.
This meeting between Hellenism and this unruly Jewish message made possible what we call Christianity.
Of course, the word gospel means good news or glad tidings,
and you make a point of Nietzsche claiming that he wrote the fifth gospel in his book, "Zirathustra."
Can you speak a little bit about this fifth gospel and the paradoxes at the heart of it?
Because good news is something that Nietzsche made a great effort to convince himself
and to continue believing that he was actually a bearer of good news, but he was tormented by the fact that before you get to any good news,
there is a terrible news, dreadful, awful news that he has to bring to humankind.
First of all, the category of news is such a very problematic, because news in the modern terms is actuality.
Whereas for those who used to term "Oyangaleon" in former times, or in the original scene,
when the message arrived, it simply meant message or in German "Bocha."
The unalion, "Angelos" is just a messenger.
That is important, the connection with time is not yet so clear, not an actualistic.
By the way, Nietzsche had not yet studied the so-called "nostic" gospel, say,
discovered later on in ancient libraries and also by this astonishing vessel,
this founding incident of Egypt, what we call "Nacamadi" called it "Sess of Nacamadi."
Now we know among these scholars who deal with the broader field of texts in which
the so-called New Testament is located, such as "Havbinhe" has been a whole genre,
really, to their very core gospel, or at least 30 to 40, that we know in our days.
And out of this corpus of 44 survived, St. Mark in the beginning,
as he was the eldest one, the row was turned around the editor's New Testament,
put "Mashio" in the beginning, and then the mark then Luke.
And the last one is John, the Greek apostle.
That is very important because with him the Hellenization of the Jewish message started.
So the number five Nietzsche used for his own writing contains the claims that he had done something,
what should change the further cause of religious history, because he pretended he had introduced laughter into the good news.
And there is something to be laughed at, and there is a deep hilarity in wisdom,
even if it has to be gained through a long term of that and horrifying knowledge that belongs to the modern conditioner.
Because modernity is all about this illusionment, it is a period of dawn, of a long, protected darkness.
We all live in a kind of mist.
And thus we cannot have very wide-ranging views, because we live in the middle of the Cistast of deconstruction of the metaphysical
tradition. And you believe that Nietzsche knew that we were in the modern era, we were somehow obliged to live in this tunnel,
and this dark times for a considerable time to come, and that his gospel is going to speak to us on the other side of these times.
Absolutely. By the way, I am grateful for this beautiful coincidence that he used the sound of a dynamite explosion.
For Nietzsche's times, this sound sounded very Helvetic, because Switzerland was the country,
was the first heroic force we made to penetrate mountains and to create a new ways to get to the south.
That is the metaphysical question for all these Northong people, essentially questioning, "How can we win back an easier access to the Mediterranean troops?"
And these tunnels in Switzerland, as it were fulfilled, an important role in the history of modern culture, because they offered the connection.
By the way, the connection between Germany and Germany, Germany and Greece, especially.
So British stopped mostly asi Alps, because they were the co-inventors of alpines, and that might suffice for their ambitions,
because they were fond of the so-called sublimbs, the second great category of modern aesthetics.
The motion was already at hand for them. They had it immediately before their eyes, but the orbs needed a certain travel effort.
But for Germans, the tunnels that led to the south were more essential question and to gain back free access.
Through the troops that lay beyond the arms seen from the North, the Italian troops, the Mediterranean troops, and then the really big dream since.
In Nietzsche's case, he seemed to have a very direct tunnel to Greek wisdom early in his life.
And I don't know how he did it, but he seemed to have the dynamite with him, and he bore through the Alpine range, right straight to Greece, and seemed to have not had to go through the same laborious process that some of his predecessors like Hegel and the others had to go through.
He had a channel, or a tunnel before the channel was built through his encounter with Richard Wagner, who was in his way also.
A tunnel maker who but not towards the Mediterranean troops, but was his Nordic inspiration.
He wanted to see the North and Gods come back on the tragic scene of German theatre.
That's why he one day, later he created this extremely demanding concept of the via-fest appeal that should replace the classical opera.
In English that could be rendered a proximity for by the incremental festival.
And the people should go to this meeting in the same habits they went to a sacrificial setting of an ancient ritual.
And that should go even further than the Catholic mess, where also the body of the Lord was
transfigured and shared with the community.
And here also a different knowledge of the truth of suffering should be distributed to an elite audience, a new German, a new German.
So you music for you, yes, that's what the formula of this later Wagnerian composition.
So you also authored a book about Nietzsche called Thinker on Stage.
Nietzsche's materialism, which is in-depth analysis, reflection on Nietzsche's first book, The Birth of Tragedy, which as we know is dedicated to Richard Wagner,
where he makes a connection between the Greeks stage and Wagnerian music.
And I guess for our listeners, would you say, do you think that Nietzsche had to do some special pleading in order to make the substantial connection between Wagner and the Greeks?
Or whether there was something about the Greek tragedy that was not exportable to the northern mist of Wagnerian, the northern gods of Wagner?
Now, it's the first place for Nietzsche, or the encounter with Wagner, was really good luck because it allowed him to connect the Hellenistic studies, which he was a young specialist.
And where his genius manifested itself for the first time, this encounter with Wagner was a lucky one for him because it allowed him to jump directly from Germany, from Turing and to Athens.
He had a direct axis to the great Dionysian theater in Athens, and he was a privileged visitor to that place.
From Wagner, he imported the message of every new seriousness to music and culture in general, because the German overall was a lie drop, right?
It was kind of the reche, what he called the barrettia, and today would say, musical or the opera is a classical opera, opera booth, but Wagner, he had learned that seriousness or heroic music must move away from entertainment principle.
And he could connect very easily with the Greek metaphysic of theater, because the theater was made to allow a large audience in an ideal case to complete male population of a big city to be present when the suffering of God itself are represented into a place.
And to look and see dismembering of Dionysus, and see how his suffering recreates the world and makes a new form of social synthesis possible, because all experience the same drama.
In an ideal case, all would cry at the same moment of truth in this shared spectacular presentation.
And from there, people returned home as after a kataz, this is a cinematologic moment of the Greek drama became very important and remained important for Nietzsche.
So would you say, Peter, that the message of the Nietzsche Apostle already begins with the birth of tragedy, and his thinking about Greek tragic wisdom and Dionysus and the death of the God on stage, and the meaning of suffering, is it already announcing itself in that early work?
I think so. He himself wrote an introduction to the second edition of this book that appeared still in his own lifetime, and also in the last clear days he had, because he lost self control when he was 44 years old.
This is eventually the best piece of philosophical prose he had ever written to new introduction now, because he's extreme, he's self critical.
But in one aspect, he still has a kind of admiration for the young man who did this book, because he still pretends that's this young.
All of the first one to ask the question was Dionysus or Dionysus, really could mean to us, and his whole life work was, as it were, just a huge effort to unfold these meanings of a new encounter with the coming God.
That was the attributes that are already the ancient had given to Dionysus. He was not an inmate or a sieklassical or lymph.
He was a non-alimpigod, someone who came from the East or accompanied by a bunch of wild personal men and women, like almost always drunken,
carrying flower crown in the head. And he himself riding on the back of a tiger.
So with these images, before you see that this advent, and Dionysus is just as a Christian piece, he's a God to come here.
He has an advent, and all new theology is about the question, how should we understand the temporal structure of this arrival that pretends at the same time to be already a presence.
So something is to come, and something is already present. The reason why Nietzsche became later on, especially in the Sartre Truster, is the singer of a metaphysics of the high noon.
Because this is still a star, when the sun is in its Senate, and the world seems to stand still, and it's perfect.
The God must no longer move. He's already there. And you withhold your breath and try to become a fair witness to the miracle of being.
The actual presence there of the God, or whatever divinity one is referring either Dionysus or the epiphany of Christ is also in presence, but it's also to come at the same time.
So there's a strange temporality. So Heidegger mentioned somewhere, I don't remember where, he says that after the birth of tragedy Nietzsche did not write any more books, he only wrote "pelemics."
And that the birth of tragedy is really his only Bonafide book in the sense that it presents an argument.
In the preface that you were referring to, the later preface Nietzsche is extremely self-critical, as you say, and he says that this author should have sung rather than spoken.
And yet I have a very different impression of the birth of tragedy, because I find it extremely sober, well-reasoned book that lays out evidence for its arguments and attempts to present a rather coherent thesis that can be tested, either empirically or historically or philologically and so forth.
And I think that we would have lost a great deal had Nietzsche sung this rather than actually reasoned out the arguments for who Dionysus is and who Apollo is and how they come together.
I think Nietzsche is right to a certain extent when he says, "My soul should have been a singer rather than what he did in his later days."
And I think that I sometimes say about my book before an ordinary voice, I'm a very tone, but as a writer I'm a tenor.
And that is absolutely the case with Nietzsche.
And the remark of Heidegger hits really a sensitive spot, but not for the disadvantage of Nietzsche, because when he turns his back to this at field of propositional prose, putting one reasonable sentence after the other.
He starts something that can be understood as a maneuver to confront the effects of these words, these three of resentment that are linked to the victory of Christianity as official religion of the Roman Empire.
So to a certain extent, this is true, that everything else after the Bruce strategy were polemical.
But it is necessarily polemical just as all writings of Saint Augustine were not sober writings like prayers.
So there is a modality, a modality, or a char, or a reason equally important role for understanding of writing as just deciphering the propositional content of a written text.
As a philosopher yourself, can I ask to what extent you consider yourself an heir to Nietzsche?
And by heir I don't mean a pious disciple of Nietzsche, I mean someone who has inherited the thought and the corpus and has metabolized it and has given it new life in a new time as such.
Yeah, that brings us back to that apostle problem, how can the contemporary author be a messenger without really knowing by himself what his message can be?
It sounds a little bit weird as if I were an employee of a post service that rings at the door of a receiver.
I should have a message for you, but I have forgotten that halfway.
I find that there are some distinct messages in your work, but never let me ask.
Let's do it because my advice is to affect the culture that the labour of experimenting with truth.
And finally, they say "contensate into established corpus of convictions."
And convictions are things you can repeat without being bored by what you say by yourself.
The apostle discovers at the same time that kind of speech that is not afraid of repetition everywhere elsewhere.
Entertainment is concerned, repetition is deadly.
But when it comes to the question of convictions that are as a result of long-meditations, new messages can arise and you can get to the door of some work.
But these convictions and these messages are different from the authoritarian messages form a post that's carried on.
That's a very nice parabh by Phan's Kafka, said, "Max Broad found in his diary that goes approximatively like this."
So we're brought before the alternative to become kings or messengers.
According to the nature of children, they all wanted to become messengers.
And therefore, they are running through each other and shouting through each other.
They're meaningless messages because they are no kings.
And they would like to put an end to their miserable lives, but they do not dare do to the allegiance to the message.
That is Kafka.
And I think this is in five lines, so metaphysics of modern communications as such because everywhere are the messengers who share their mutual voice with each other.
And very rarely they also who at least have a minimum message.
Here's a question about whether a message has to have a king who is dispatching it,
or whether there has to be a god for whom one is acting as a messenger.
Can one be the messenger of something like the predominance of Roussaintimore resentment in modern behavior mentality and so forth?
Or can one be the messenger of something that Nietzsche worried a lot about, which is our culture in the modern era, especially, is seized and possessed by a will to truth.
And this will to truth at any cost is something that without us knowing what we're doing, we are uncovering one truth after another, which is showing us that there is really nothing behind the...
The things that we are investigating and that this will to truth will end up demoralizing us beyond any hope.
These are messages that one can actually deliver to one's fellow men without their needing to be a king behind them.
Is it not the case?
Yeah, but that is the case.
And the problem is how to transform this message in a good use.
Yes, that's the problem.
And that's a point where the critical transformation of deception into good use happens.
That is Nietzsche as a writer of the fifth gospel.
Just to have been leaving this era when we lived under the metaphysic of the strong sin,
that every important message was supposed to carry the signature of a divine or at least superior force.
Now deconstruction has happened, not necessarily under this name, but it started at least in the 17th century,
when Spinoza started his mockery on what he called historic religions, and he regions depending on trees and on these casts of specialists for holy things.
And this mockery went on for at least three centuries, and what we have now are just killings and imperists to the fact that the people of Charlie Hebdo were daring enough to print some harmless,
because Charlie Carter of Martha Matz, you know, so those diseases, send bound forms of religion where everywhere the signature of Allah,
with that end of the document, it's then the bound kinds of message that you are in the audience are fighting,
with a different kind of message, which is virtually more and more the message of the artistic figuration of unlivable truth.
I think that Nietzsche also can be read as someone who tried to make these unbearable truths,
bereable by instilling a new element of love into the message.
And this love resembles to certain degree through the eldest conceptions of ancient philosophical theology that you can find in Aristotle.
So God, necessarily, is that entity who deserves most his own love.
So the whole truth about philosophical theology is the absolute narcissism of God.
And that makes us so critical about Nietzsche, for our case he entered too deeply into that realm of the necessary self-love of the God who meditates his own godliness.
And we feel embarrassed when we read Nietzsche's for self-eulogies and we look at a silent feel ashamed of one feels a little bit ashamed for him,
because we have a desire to be a person who has such an opinion on himself.
Well, yes, in fact, you quote a number of passages in Nietzsche, a puzzle which are extremely embarrassing,
but when one is read Nietzsche, you almost get immune to them because as you say, we deal with our embarrassment by either putting aside these passages
or finding explanations for them whereby they don't really mean what they say.
But can I quote for our listeners just a few of these things that he would say about himself?
Here's something that he writes in "H.O.M.I. believe it's at you."
And with the fact that a psychologist without equal is speaking in my works, that is perhaps the first thing a good reader will realize.
Another passage does anyone at the end of the 19th century have a clear idea of what poets in strong ages called inspiration, if not I will describe it.
This is my experience of inspiration.
I do not doubt that you would need to go back thousands of years to find anyone who would say it is mine as well.
My zerothrooster has a special place for me in my writings with it.
I have given humanity the greatest gift it has ever received.
And I could go on quoting many passages that you draw attention to.
And here you do relate this self-aggrandizement to the divine narcissism as well as many other kinds of narcissism.
We speak on ethno narcissism when the Franks in the 9th century believe that they had to translate the gospels into their own language.
And many other ways in which by praising God the praise is also always involved in the act of self-praise.
No? Nietzsche not only unveils that but then takes this into an extreme in his own public performances.
But from an architect, a tectonic of a point of view, a few cards to the opus, the original opus as such, this divine narcissism is the precondition for that what Nietzsche called his deep idea that is the teaching of the eternal recurrence of the same.
Because these forms of circularity have to meet in order to make both of them plausible.
So in the world, all the same thing happens.
Even in huge circles that an individual knowledge never can go through.
But if really all the time the same happened, it's an individual who is in the middle of the process or court in the process.
Will either be just a grain of dust in that infernal mill such turns eternally.
But if in that same full circle the self-love of Dionysus, Dionysus who loves himself, with the love of being that knows and creates at the same time.
Who has found a way to combine suffering, knowledge and creation.
And then these both circularities can carry the world process.
And then this mega-nomaniac discourse becomes as it were a necessary proof for the truth of that essay.
But finally we do not really know if Nietzsche really wanted that his fieldroom of the eternal recurrence of the same should be taken up here the latter or seriously.
When he introduces this idea, he speaks hypothetically, he says, "How much would you have to become a friend of yourself?
And how much would you have to fall in love with life in general if you were ready to carry these heaviest ideas of all thinkable.
Which is that everything will happen again and you will be exactly internally back again as the same person.
And if you could say yes to that, obscene propositions that everything should happen again.
Without the intervention of a know, these both circularities could meet.
But I wonder if Galerith was right when he took that theory of the eternal recurrence of the same literally.
I don't think it should be taken literally. It is a test, it is a test.
And it should show you how far your energies of affirmation can go.
He himself was made sometimes very funny remarks.
For instance, when he said, "I am very inclined to drop my strongest idea of the eternal recurrence of the same."
Or, "I imagine my mother and my sister."
When things become specific, it is difficult.
Yeah, so there is, I believe, something in the ontotheological tradition, if you want to use a high-digarian concept,
where the divine has been conceived from Aristotle onwards as coincident with itself, identical to itself.
It is that which must necessarily love itself.
Nus has that quality where it thinks upon itself.
In Dante's Padadizo 33, the very last contour of the Padadizo, when he looks right into the Godhead,
he sees the Trinity smiling to itself, on itself, through itself.
So this sort of principle of identity would almost require the kind of divine narcissism.
And Nietzsche then seems to be aware of it, and perhaps at certain times suspicious of it.
I'm reminded of one of the first semi-mad letters that he dashed off after his collapse in Torino and the city of Turin,
when he wrote to Burkhardt actually.
In his first paragraph, he writes, this is January 6, 1889,
"Dear Professor, in the end, I would much rather be a Basel Professor than God,
but I have not dared push my private egoism so far as to desist for its sake from the creation of the world.
You see one must make sacrifices, however and wherever one lives."
This idea that it would be better to be a Basel Professor than God seems to me to suggest that there is something infernal about that God has to be.
That God's entrapment within his own megalomania and maybe a modest Basel Professor is somehow more sane than God.
But for us it is very hard to conceive, sane God.
Yes, but being God, being a God that creates that much inattention and all the great systems of philosophical theology dealt with that inner divine turbulence.
For that Neo-Platonism, for instance, is nothing but a huge description of that inter-moral fantasy going on inside space of divinity.
God remains always in himself, but he explodes permanently.
He is recollecting the particle's office, he explodes and brings them back to his centre and so forth.
So that the system of the brocloths that found an amazing afterlife in the heg of the system that also is caught in the rules of that absolute circularity.
From that point of view, Heidegger is found to reintegrate Nietzsche into the history of theology and to see in him a thinker who delivered an explanation to the strongest ways of self-manifestational or the divine villain, the will to power.
And in Nietzsche, can I ask you Peter if you agree that there is a certain philosophy of shattering of as Dionysian urge to self-immolation and self-undoing as you were describing in the case of the turbulence of God in even more traditional notions.
But this urge that Dionysus has to, in his moment of presence, is a piffany, that moment of presence eventually will and very quickly turns into the dismemberment of that God.
And he precisely perhaps because there is some liberation from this narcissistic trap within which the concept of the divine often is found as finds itself.
Now Nietzsche himself, sometimes, thrived to get out of his full circle. In the Exo-Homer, you find amazing passages where he says that he personally for his own psychological reality, he never had a will.
And he is, as a person, not able to say what it means to be really willing to see this or that, this is a precious hint.
And the most beautiful part of Sarge, was this high known scene in the fourth part of Targe, which actually is a kind of huge pean answer to the moment of enlightenment of the Buddha under the body,
He will, body tree. Here, he describes the messenger as a person sleeping in the grass under a tree and tied to life.
Only through a very thin thread, you must not move. Dionysus is there, don't even breathe, don't move the world has become perfect.
Such shows that he is looking for the moment when he was able to bear the burden of his divine predicament.
And what do appearances or surfaces have to do with this in the sense that the end of his life, I mean, and at the end of his thought, he does go back to the Greeks and he says, very last page of Nietzsche Contre Wagner, for example, which he was working on before their insurance.
He talks about our future. He says, "You will hardly find us again on the paths of those Egyptian youths who endanger temples by night, embrace statues and want by all means to unveil, uncover, and put into a bright light whatever is kept concealed for good reasons."
No, this bad taste, this will to truth, to truth at any price, this youthful madness in love of truth, have lost their charm for us.
For that, we are too experienced, too serious, too gay, too burned, too deep. We no longer believe that truth remains truth when the veils are withdrawn.
And then he goes on to say, "Aren't we now, after we've been through these depths, are we not coming back to the Greek wisdom, are we not Greeks adores of forms, surfaces, colors, tones, everything that has to do with the divine superficiality of appearance?"
And when I think of those moments of the high noon that where the world has become perfect, there's two things about the noon that I would like to propose to you see if you agree.
One is that the high noon is not the moment of maximum revelation, where the world is revealed.
It's also the hour at which there's a great deal of concealment in appearances because precisely this excessive brightness and this stillness, and it's when the animals are actually in hiding and so.
And that acceptance of that which does not reveal itself, or that perhaps which you cannot penetrate to the truth of might be part of the experience of the high noon, or at least an acceptance of the limitation that our phonetically is.
That our phenomenological ways of being in the world bring it with them.
It does need you at the end come to a kind of need to create a kind of renunciation of this strong will to become the divine, seize the divine, or be in the overwhelming presence of the divine.
There is a moment in later in the niches life when he addresses his future readers asking them that first of all they should not mistake him for something he had not been.
That is his first and last hope not to be misunderstood as the founder of a new religion.
The title I am pretending for is that of a fool or a poet, only fool, only poets.
I think this is a wise decision to take that as his last word when it comes to the question of self, of a self portrait together with the whole more, we arrive at this ambivalent.
The truth question can best be interpreted by the hint that the noon for Nietzsche is an occasion to repeat the divine siesta after the creation.
There are two types of stillness come together. There is an oriental element in each reflection.
It is a silence of the Buddha who has had three days in deep silence under the body bomb because he understood nothing to say, nothing to do.
And it is only out of a secondary gesture of pity, he descends and decides to become a teacher.
This teaching is always something that is not propelled by a manic mission.
That is what the Basil Professor is.
It is a teacher too.
The teacher teaching is also a form of pity because you see that so many people are still living in that bad form of trouble and that are not sufficiently familiar with that double stillness of the European siesta.
The Indian meditation.
Peter, can I ask about Zerothustra is a bewildering testament.
Nietzsche and elsewhere had what some people consider insane overvaluation of the importance of that work among all his other works.
I know that you and I share a love of that book not for its overt sentimentality or other things but because it seems much more, there is a lot going on under the surface.
Can you say something about how important you believe that one book is in the corpus of Nietzsche?
I think it is a book in which he makes his coming out as a writer of a new type of autobiography.
On the surface you would say he tries to do something that could only be done by a third person just as it needed a trauma from Chellano to write the Vita of St. Francis.
I think he wanted to be Chellano and Francis of CZ in one person and to become the writer of a Vita, not a modern autobiography but the Vita is more of a Vita than the Gospels.
It is closer to the Vita of St.'s life, record of St.'s life. It should be collected within a new volume of the agenda where the modern characters could be brought together in that collection.
These are reports on heroes and saints who were able to re-appropriate their own work.
The entire by the way was a man who had said the man is an autobiographical animal and the very possibility of his story of graffiti pens on the fact that he owned faculty to bring the elements of your life story together and to arrange them in such a way that you bring the elements.
But this is a modernism. I think Nietzsche claims to an outdated and much more heroic form of writing of Vita.
For instance, this passage is on his own work. This is to simply reenacting with the tradition that already was antiquity, a well-known habits that scholars to the end of their lives wrote a book on their books.
Lieber de Lieber is made, this is a classical genre. Nietzsche knows that and he takes it up. The most famous example of that, of course, was the retrocter Tiones, that Augustin is wrote when he looked back on his former writings.
There's a lot of classes in that, Exo-Homa.
Yes, that's Exo-Homa, of course. There are through, here's another question I'm very concerned to ask you.
I find that when it comes to Nietzsche being a prophet, there are ways in which he was, for me, extremely blind about what would be the most dominant feature of the coming century,
which many people consider him the inaugurator of the 20th century, but the one thing he has almost nothing to say about was the dominance of modern technology in the era to come.
And this, okay, you can say that he didn't, this was a blind spot in his thinking. In Zarathruster, they especially in part four, however, I think where he has a prophetic vision that has to do with our still our own time is when he's speaking, when he thinks of the last men, this idea of who is the last man,
in what way is the parameters that the last man is contained within, which is very much the consumerist of our own society, which is the complacent, it's no longer even the Puthibuah or these 19th century categories.
It's very much the contemporary citizen as a global citizen of a kind of capitalist, it's of consumerism that does not think beyond its creaturely comforts of this day and the next day.
And this is where I think there's something in his thinking that promises to show us a way to transcend this fatality, which is European civilization after all these centuries in millennia, and that it cannot end in the last man.
Or will it end in the last man?
I think here in the immediate problem that will occupy the humanity in the centuries to come.
And that is the question of how to maintain that what I call the vertical tension inside the human being,
or everything that has to do with verticality for that, and each is the specialist coming from the tradition, because he discovered this new type of problem, how to maintain the vertical tension, if the higher region itself has been removed.
This is as if Jack Ops ladder, over which the angel can march up and down, should still stand upright without having a support on the upper level.
There is still a height, but there is no support from above.
So everything has to be erected from below, so the vertical tension has a rocket-like dynamics or a will to growth, and that can be easily expressed also in biological terms.
You can go back to Gertie, who said that all life is movement and extension.
And from here, you get to a less mega-lomionic conception of growth.
As you could read and later, in each of his explorations in the language of a human growth,
which is still an important, as I would say, an immortal idea for generations to come.
Well, in fact, in Nietzsche Apostle, you speak about his extraordinary genius as a marketer of his own brand, and that you don't merely invent a brand that then takes off in the market.
What you do is that you create the market for the very brand that you're promoting, and that Nietzsche created a market for a brand of, I think, is related to what you're talking about, the latter, of having realized that in the era and the regime of the last man, which is a regime of egalitarianism, or mass, that there will always be a need for distinction, or a drive to distinction.
And that his, he marketed his philosophy as a promise to, as a way, to understanding a need before it even became apparent to the world itself, that there was going to be a need for distinction in this world, and that he was, but then you also say somewhat, I think, prophetically, that he was promising losers, a formula by which they could be on the side of which.
And this was also part of his brand.
Can you say something about this?
Do you see, when you speak about verticality, are you speaking about this need for distinction that will be among people in this particular regime?
I think Nietzsche was among the very rare thinkers who had a feeling for that. There is a deep connection between moral, moral philosophy and public relations.
And this can be shown by the subtitle of the Sartre Tostre, a book for all and nobody.
I'm a book for Ali Oldkind.
And I'm convinced that this is Nietzsche's genius, this subtitle betrays something from his innermost drive, his way of...
...pronemics. As Heidi would put it, was not really polemics. It was teaching. It was a kind of action teaching, like Joseph Voice would call his performances.
Nietzsche was a kind of action teacher writing a book for all and nobody and discovering, in so doing, the very structure of higher morality.
This kind of morality only creates a field of behavior that is not descriptive for a living population that betrays the horizon into which new generations will rise in resonance with this input, the input has necessarily to be...
A challenge. Just as Buddhism was before it was brought out as an Indian form of a gospel, the way of salvation.
Just as Christian gospel was a pure challenge to the pagan environment of the form of the world.
And so Nietzsche designs a horizon for those who in the morality market of the future will distinguish themselves as individuals who show how the path of humanity can be continued.
And in that context, you read this most provocative sentence of the introductory, so-called prologue to the title, "The Man is a Robe between the animal and the Superman."
And you decide if you want to be a successful Robe Walker or not.
And if you are not successful as a Robe Walker, you have tried it.
This is the meaning of philosophical pan-to-meme that concludes the prologue of Sartreusta.
He sees a Robe Walker, he has fallen down, and he said, "You made the danger out of danger. You made your profession. There's nothing disposable in that.
And for that reason, I am going to bury you on my own hair." That is a cathartic sauce message.
It's not success that decides everything. It is so real to remain within the movement and to walk on the rope.
If you do not want to remain simply a part of the masses who are looking up and admiring people to increase things.
Well, that's beautiful because it brings everything back into play that we've been talking about over the last hour, which is above all, what is the message.
And if that's the Rathusus message that being on the tight rope and being suspended between two different points, maybe being a messenger without the sender in view, either behind your or in front of you.
And this idea of living dangerously is also a parable for the kind of thinking that your work certainly embodies in all sorts of ways and a kind of message of dangerous thinking as you put it in your work.
In John's journey, you'll find a passage where he said, "Just remain a messenger of the rope."
A messenger of the rope. That's a good place to conclude our conversation that we've been having here with our professor Peter Sloderdike, who's been visiting here at Stanford in the past month, offering seminar on his work.
And grateful to you for coming on again, Peter, or this conversation about Nietzsche, and when you come back to Stanford and I'm trusting that you will come back very soon.
We can get back into this underworld studio of KCSU again and continue this conversation on other topics as well.
So I want to remind our listeners that you've been listening to entitled opinions. I'm Robert Harrison. We're on hiatus at the moment, but we're going to be back with you in the spring. So thanks again. Thank you.