The Pathos of Distance

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Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 05:38 pm
Here are a couple of passages I have found in Beyond Good and Evil, and The Genealogy of Morals I found on the the idea of the pathos of distance. I have provided the quotes for the passages to be discussed. Enjoy!

The Pathos of Distance

Quote:
Every enhancement of the type "man" has so far been the work of an aristocratic society-and it will be so again and again-a society that believes in the long ladder of an order of rank and differences in value between man and man, and that needs slavery in some sense or other. Without that pathos of distance which grows out of the ingrained difference between strata--when the ruling caste constantly looks afar and looks down upon subjects and instruments and just as constantly practices obedience and command, keeping down and keeping at a distance-that other, more mysterious pathos could not have grown up either-the craving for an ever widening of distances within the soul itself, the development of ever higher, rarer, more remote, further-stretching, more comprehensive states-in brief, simply the enhancement of the type "man," the continual "self-overcoming of man," to use a moral formula in a supra-moral sense. (Beyond Good and Evil 257)


Quote:
The source of the concept "good" has been sought and established in the wrong place: the judgment "good" did not originate with those to whom "goodness" was shown! Rather it was "the good" themselves, that is to say, the noble, powerful, high-stationed and high-minded, who felt and established themselves and their actions as good, that is, of the first rank, in contradistinction to all the low, low-minded, common and plebian. It was out of this pathos of distance that they first seized the right to create values and to coin names for values: what had they to do with utility! The viewpoint of utility is as remote and inappropriate as it possibly could be in face of such a burning eruption of the highest rank-ordering, rank-defining value judgments: for here feeling has attained the antithesis of that low degree of warmth which any calculating prudence, any calculus of utility, presupposes-and not for once only, not for an exceptional hour, but for good. The pathos of nobility and distance, as a foresaid, the protracted and domineering fundamental total feeling on the part of a higher ruling order in relation to a lower order, to a "below"-that is the origin of the antithesis "good" and "bad." (The Genealogy of Morals I, 2)
 
Octal
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 06:53 pm
@Theaetetus,
But be careful that you "higher men" do not climb the ladder of rank too high too quickly! You may go too high, and the "lower men" at the bottom of the ladder, standing at the lowest rungs helping support your climb up into the highest clouds so you can stand next to the gods, may lose sight of you, and forget why they are holding the ladder! They may walk away, or even climb the ladder themselves! But what would hold you up in the air? No one down below for balance, and nothing to catch you, just empty air to fall through...
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 04:46 pm
@Theaetetus,
Hey; T; do the quotation about the officer in church, how is he described, as bloody... I think it ends with the statement: Who do they exclude... That seems much the point, to find the self by excluding all other selves.. I'll find it, and check back...I think it is from the Antichrist...
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 05:51 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;110345 wrote:
Here are a couple of passages I have found in Beyond Good and Evil, and The Genealogy of Morals I found on the the idea of the pathos of distance. I have provided the quotes for the passages to be discussed. Enjoy!

The Pathos of Distance


Interesting. When I thought about nausea after reading an earlier Nietzsche clip you posted, what came to mind was not only disgust but also vertigo. A pathos of distance. Of great heights and looking down plays into this nicely. Perhaps the nausea is not brought on by disgust at all but rather vertigo.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 06:06 pm
@Theaetetus,
I think Nietzsche focused too much on social class in relation to this issue. Surely the martyrs who could smile at torture knew something about a pathos of distance. Occult capacities lurk in man. Myth triggers these capacities. Once engaged, they can fill a man with ecstasy, faith, nausea at the misery doubt and fear of others who are not switched on. But Nietzsche obsessed with social class, and applied his experiences to that. Perhaps he thought it would be too escapist to stay with psychology and philosophy. Perhaps also the anxiety of influence shoved him off away from his roots. I count him as a critical ironic mystic. I think there's a strong case for that. But I'll save that for another post.
 
scian
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 06:10 pm
@Octal,
Octal;110361 wrote:
But be careful that you "higher men" do not climb the ladder of rank too high too quickly! You may go too high, and the "lower men" at the bottom of the ladder, standing at the lowest rungs helping support your climb up into the highest clouds so you can stand next to the gods, may lose sight of you, and forget why they are holding the ladder! They may walk away, or even climb the ladder themselves! But what would hold you up in the air? No one down below for balance, and nothing to catch you, just empty air to fall through...


This seems like a necessary relationship. Who is responsible for human enhancement? The person climbing the ladder must be supported by those below him, yet the person providing the support cannot grow because they hold the ladder. It must follow that there cannot be human growth without inequality. The pathos of distance must be necessary for the human race to evolve.

Now I have to wonder if I'm climbing the ladder or holding it?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 06:20 pm
@scian,
áscian;111903 wrote:
This seems like a necessary relationship. Who is responsible for human enhancement? The person climbing the ladder must be supported by those below him, yet the person providing the support cannot grow because they hold the ladder. It must follow that there cannot be human growth without inequality. The pathos of distance must be necessary for the human race to evolve.

Now I have to wonder if I'm climbing the ladder or holding it?


You make a good point. An interesting and opposite point was made by Kojeve/Hegel. The slave develops religion and metaphysics in order to justify his slavery, which is founded on a fear of death. The slave also works on reality for the master, and learns a different kind of mastery. One thinks of the doctors and merchants in the age of kings and queens. The middle class had the know-how and money to take control. The kings and queens built their castles on sand. Nietzsche does address the social pyramid necessity. But isn't it interesting that he was a poor bachelor living in hotel rooms on a pension? Was he not like a monk, scribbling his occult truths for the unborn? He himself needed only a minimum of money, books, a little opera, and plenty of isolation.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 06:26 pm
@scian,
áscian;111903 wrote:
This seems like a necessary relationship. Who is responsible for human enhancement? The person climbing the ladder must be supported by those below him, yet the person providing the support cannot grow because they hold the ladder. It must follow that there cannot be human growth without inequality. The pathos of distance must be necessary for the human race to evolve.

Now I have to wonder if I'm climbing the ladder or holding it?


Why must the human race evolve?
 
pagan
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 06:26 pm
@scian,
this is no meritocracy it is beaurocracy. When the distance is managed by the machine out of necessity of scale and efficiency of organisation, then the soul gets lost in the feedback loops of red tape and popular opinion.
Quote:

....the craving for an ever widening of distances within the soul itself, the development of ever higher, rarer, more remote, further-stretching, more comprehensive states-in brief, simply the enhancement of the type "man," the continual "self-overcoming of man," to use a moral formula in a supra-moral sense.
supra moral george w bush, self-overcoming of man? No, beaurocratic machine overcoming man with media image of.

Quote:
The source of the concept "good" has been sought and established in the wrong place: the judgment "good" did not originate with those to whom "goodness" was shown! Rather it was "the good" themselves, that is to say, the noble, powerful, high-stationed and high-minded, who felt and established themselves and their actions as good, that is, of the first rank....
not in a beaurocratic politically correct world it aint.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 06:35 pm
@pagan,
pagan;111912 wrote:

not in a beaurocratic politically correct world it aint.



Good point. This is what Vico would call the democratic age. I would say that the pathos of distance is better sought among artists, mystics, thinkers. We live in a sensual practical age, in which fame and wealth are taken for the highest achievements. This is an overstatement, for the good stuff never dies completely. It's just in the margins. I think we generate the good stuff spontaneously. They could burn all the myths and we would soon dream it up again. Rocknroll, Jesus, Buddha, Satan, and the inquiring mind are indestructible. I think they are part of us like our fingers are part of us. Maybe we should consider the pathos of distance in relation to current self looking back on former self. Assuming one feels that progress has made...
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 06:48 pm
@Reconstructo,
How about a pathos of distance between each individual? Can distance be lateral rather than up/down?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 07:14 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;111917 wrote:
How about a pathos of distance between each individual? Can distance be lateral rather than up/down?


I think so. It also seems that any movie that shows a Van Gogh or a Beethoven relies on this pathos of distance. The concept of genius (something like a demon or a spirit) is tied in to this I think. And if we want to trace it back further, perhaps the mother's love for the new born. Every newborn is Baby Jesus to its loving mother. A miracle. Nietzsche called maturity an attainment of the seriousness of a child at play. An ideal pathos of distance would perhaps be a turn-taking. Of course Nietzsche does mention the mutual recognition of equals/masters. It's Townsend telling Clapton about Hendrix. It could be an elite minority that scorns elite minorities.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 07:32 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111924 wrote:
I think so. It also seems that any movie that shows a Van Gogh or a Beethoven relies on this pathos of distance. The concept of genius (something like a demon or a spirit) is tied in to this I think. And if we want to trace it back further, perhaps the mother's love for the new born. Every newborn is Baby Jesus to its loving mother. A miracle. Nietzsche called maturity an attainment of the seriousness of a child at play. An ideal pathos of distance would perhaps be a turn-taking. Of course Nietzsche does mention the mutual recognition of equals/masters. It's Townsend telling Clapton about Hendrix. It could be an elite minority that scorns elite minorities.


The talk of mother and child reminds me of all the talk of weaning in Kierkegaard's fear and trembling. There it was a weaning between man and god as a step towards man's spiritual maturity. Again there is distance. Distance between mother and child. Distance between god and man. Distance not as a component of ones identity, not as defining oneself in relation to those who are below, but as a necessary step towards maturity and developing ones own identity independent of Others.

Nietzsche does talk a lot about solitude elsewhere and maybe that is something like the type of distance I am talking about I guess. But No, that is not all it is. It is recognizing that the Others, are Others, not you, distant. There is a weaning from the Others necessary in order to become oneself. To become oneself one must be distant even when the Others are all around you. But this is not necessarily an up/down distance.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 07:41 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;111936 wrote:
To become oneself one must be distant even when the Others are all around you. But this is not necessarily an up/down distance.


I agree. Of course "up" is a natural concept for the embracing the necessary, but it does tend to reinforce limiting forms of egotism. The mother-child things reminds me of Spengler. The Faustian age is an age of care. Mary cares for the Jesus who is the Future. The Faustian age conceives itself as direction force, I suppose. One image for it would be endlessly stretching space. Impressionism dissolves the object into light-filled space.

Yes, one must achieve some distance at first from the parents. And then to be an individual culturally demands the courage to stand on one's own authority, to put away idols. I think Nietzsche addresses this, but his blunderbuss approach makes him as re-interpretable as the New Testament. Nietzsche wrote about how sweet he was to non-intellectuals. Funny for him to mention it but it's important. His description of his father in Ecce Homo is telling. Despite his Satanic bluster, I can't help but imagine him as a person full of sympathy and gentleness.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 02:01 am
@Theaetetus,
Remember, that behind Nietzsche is an odd metaphysics that was a direct offshoot of the sort that was founded in Schopenhauerian metaphysics. While Nietzsche was not nearly fatalistic with his pessimism, he was very much accepting much of Schopenhauer's metaphysics (well it was an applied Kantian metaphysics--which is interesting considering how much N hated Kant). But I think N was about overcoming this kind of naive pessimism that plagued S--or at least finding a way.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 05:46 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;112024 wrote:
Remember, that behind Nietzsche is an odd metaphysics that was a direct offshoot of the sort that was founded in Schopenhauerian metaphysics. While Nietzsche was not nearly fatalistic with his pessimism, he was very much accepting much of Schopenhauer's metaphysics (well it was an applied Kantian metaphysics--which is interesting considering how much N hated Kant). But I think N was about overcoming this kind of naive pessimism that plagued S--or at least finding a way.


Quiet true. He was a sort of inverted Schopenhauer, and yet both appealed strongly to myth. I cannot deny their differences. Still, the similarities are striking. Both at their peak were ignored. Both stubbornly pursued their obsession, the writing of philosophy. Both were confident that they were geniuses that had the world figured out. I suppose that Schopenhauer was a man more like Buddha, whereas Nietzsche was more of a Faust. Schopenhauer presents stasis as an ideal. Nietzsche presents ceaseless evolution as an ideal. Schopenhauer explicitly denies this world. Nietzsche, in theory, embraces it. So their ethics are clearly different. But their lifestyles were similar. Should we look at words or their lives? I vote both. I agree the differences of the two should not be obscured.
 
 

 
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