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Igniting An East-West Globalizing Dialogue

Happy 170th Birthday, Nietzsche!

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On 15 October 1844, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born. The (academic) world of will, idea, passion, and thought-provoking action has not been the same since. However misunderstood Nietzsche may be (mainly because his sister manipulated his manuscripts to fit her German nationalist and anti-Semitic agendas), he is truly a philosopher and writer of unparalleled brilliance. On the topics of will, truth, and candidly raw socio-political and cultural critique, he eclipses all others in juxtaposed comparison. (Granted, Adorno comes close on the score of cultural critiques.)

Clearly, I did not exist in 1844. However, my heart and spirit rejoice in praise of his birth 170 years ago. We stand in fortunate happenstance to benefit from the legacy of his extraordinary thoughts and the acumen of his critiques. They will forever remain undiminished.

But I am diverging off-topic.

Nietzsche figures prominently for my discussion on infinite potentiality theory (IPT) in Volume I of my book: Igniting an East-West Globalizing Dialogue: Thus Spoke Chuang-Tzu. So why did I choose Nietzsche? Precisely because he represents the vibrant, passionate, unabashedly insightful Western mind who can meet the challenge of thought-and-action-provoking achievements. There is a dearth of boldness and of fearless determination towards truth and the will to greatness that Nietzsche fulfills in spades.

Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the finest and most skilled ‘warrior’ of words. Each word he uses is expertly positioned, as if in a dazzling swordplay of thoughts and ideas in a battle through his intellectual crisis. Saddled with the burdens of his genius, he resolves to inspire. In a sweeping call to action, he dares us to our own greatness:

You should seek your enemy, you should wage your war – a war for your opinions. And if your opinion is defeated, your honesty should still cry triumph over that!

You should love peace as a means to new wars. And the short peace more than the long.

I do not exhort you to work but to battle. I do not exhort you to peace, but to victory. May your work be a battle, may your peace be a victory!

            – Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Of War and Warriors,” p.74

I see no other writer from the Western world with a movingly passionate belief in man’s ability to greatness, more irreverent against daresay – atavistic – traditions, and more diligent in pursuing effective and impactful change than Nietzsche.   For all he effects forward and strives towards, and in all he depicts, observes, and portrays through Zarathustra’s voice, I am challenged to find his equal.

Indeed, Nietzsche offers us his hope in the possibility of greatness. In RJ Hollingdale’s explanation of Zarathustra as “…the resolution of a long-sustained intellectual crisis” (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Introduction,” #2, p.11), through the notion of the ‘superman/overman’ and theme of ‘eternal recurrence’:

He who had attained that joy would affirm life and love it however much pain it contained, because he would know that ‘all things are chained and entwined together’ and that everything is therefore part of a whole which he must accept as a whole. To express this feeling of life-affirmation Nietzsche formulated a theorem of ‘the eternal recurrence of the same events’ to which he gave rhapsodic expression in Zarathustra. To be sure, only the Superman could be so well-disposed towards his life as to want it again and again for ever: but that precisely is the reason for willing his creation. The joy of the Superman in being as he is, now and ever, is the ultimate sublimation of the will to power and the final overcoming of an otherwise inexorable and inevitable nihilism.”

            — ibid, #4, p.27

I would venture to go one step further than Nietzsche’s concepts of the ‘superman/overman’ and ‘eternal recurrence’ by proposing the following:

To resolve the crisis of life’s meaning, the individual must ultimately attain freedom from necessity of meaning.

In contrast to Nietzsche’s ‘eternal recurrence of the same’, I suggest eternal change embedded within an ultimate return to creative potentiality catalyzed by the individual’s agency to self-attunement. Realizing his potentiality thus, he becomes simultaneously free of and from the self and its related fetters (i.e., necessity). Above all, I aim to re-instill hope and promise in absolute liberation qua ultimate freedom.

Life’s greatest meaning is realized when meaning is unnecessary. When the necessity of meaning is unnecessary, s/he is liberated from the embodied self. This is my theorem of eternal recurrence; it is an eternal recurrence to freedom from necessity. Its path is through the realization of infinite creative potentiality as a galvanizing catalyst towards eternal liberation. Nietzsche qua Zarathustra declares that every soul is a world of its own (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “The Convalescent,” 2, p.234). I add that every soul is a world of its own with an inherent infinite creative potentiality awaiting to be ignited. The greatest tragedy is to see the flame wasted and extinguished, unutilized. This is my proscription against such an event.

Zarathustra is a sort of ‘guide book’ to the superman/overman and a reconciliation and reinstatement of life qua fully realized life. With Chuang Tzu, I attempt a proclamatory exhortation for all individuals to reflect introspectively to realize their inherent creative potential. The realization must be qualified – qualified as Nietzsche so often does with all matters – as a means towards the ultimate end: liberation from the self and the self’s shackles and fetters. Once this is achieved, necessity dissipates into the very figments of air and nonexistent imaginings, no longer relevant in the state of other qua ultimate freedom.

And with this, the 100th post to my blog, I am eternally grateful to Nietzsche for his unmitigated greatness and mental agility. Fortunate happenstance that today is his birthday. Fortunate happenstance that this post marks this blog’s centennial.

Thank you for reading (and for continuing)!

–JY

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One thought on “Happy 170th Birthday, Nietzsche!

  1. Thank you! Brilliant Writing! Brings to mind Chopra’s words on Pure Potentiality and Detachment: “To acquire anything in the physical universe, you must relinquish your attachment to it. Keep your intention, but give up attachment to result. Attachment comes from poverty consciousness, because attachment is always to symbols. Detachment is synonymous with wealth consciousness because it brings freedom to create. Only from detached involvement can we find joy & laughter. Without detachment, we are prisoners of helplessness, hopelessness, mundane needs, trivial concerns, quiet desperation, a mediocre existence..poverty consciousness. Attachment to money is a sign of insecurity. The search for security is an attachment to the known, but the known is our past conditioning. We must relinquish attachment to the known & step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities. Accept the wisdom of insecurity. Uncertainty is the fertile ground of pure creativity and freedom. Step into the unknown in every moment & always be open to creative possibilities. This is the excitement, adventure & mystery of life! It makes life exhilarating, creates zest for life! There is not always one way to get what you want, to go from A to Z. Instead, there are infinite possibilities and the way to find solutions is to be an alert witness to the chaos of life. Don’t force solutions, just wait for solutions to emerge. Stick with your pointed intentions, no matter what, practice preparation, prevention and planning and wait for your preparedness and intention to manifest an opportunity. Watch the solution emerge! Commit to detachment. Allow myself and others the freedom to be as they are. Don’t rigidly impose my ideas of how things should be. Don’t force solutions, thereby creating new problems. Participate in everything with detached involvement. Factor uncertainty into everything. Welcome it. The more uncertain things seems to be, the more secure I’ll feel, because uncertainty is my path to freedom. Step into the field of all possibilities & anticipate the excitement that occurs with an infinity of choices. Feel the adventure, the mystery of life!” In a life lived this way, there is no necessity for meaning or for anything, since you live your life as the witness and the observer. Meaning emerges from the experience of living and we create values from that meaning that enrich our lives but this only happens if we are freed from the attachment to meaning and when the meaning is unnecessary. And what is unnecessary incongruously becomes what is central to our lives. A paradox? A conundrum? A mystery.
    Bill Pearl

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