The believer and its historian

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Arjuna
 
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 10:19 am
This is one of a thousand tangents I've noticed spiralling out of Nietzche's words. (I haven't read Geneology of Morals yet... I'm writing this anyway.)

Imagine that within every psyche is a believer. It has no reason for it's beliefs. I imagine it as a big blue child.

The believer only comes into focus with respect to it's companion: the skeptic... which I imagine as a skinny orange Englishman who lurks in the background as the believer plays in its creek.

The skeptic imagines itself to be superior to the believer... after all the believer is only a child. The delight of the skeptic is to compose erudite expositions on the nature of the big blue believer (say that ten times really fast.)

Your own skeptic plays out explanations for your beliefs using words like: possibly... logically... apparently... Meanwhile the believer notes the enthusiasm of the skeptic the same way it encounters everything else: by opening its cavernous acceptance in which resides a thousand thousand movies all playing at once... telling stories about what is.

The skeptic explains that the believer needs to understand the origin of life so it can exert control over its world. This is essentially a magnificent garbling. The believer doesn't actually need to understand anything... that's the skeptic's job. And neither of them exerts....

How are the skeptic and the believer related to the "self" that Nietzche talks about? Or is it like the physicists say today... there's only a single membrane that all things poke out of...
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 05:56 pm
@Arjuna,
According to Nietzsche, the world is a fiction. Nietzsche says: "It is not the truth or falsity of a claim, but the value of the claim for the enhancement of life or the preservation of the species man". Falsehoods, or beliefs, are necessary for the self to exist, but they are still false.

The world is a perspectival fiction. The "will to truth" of the believer is merely an expression of the believer's power drives - see e.g. "Beyond Good and Evil" Section 1, where Nietzsche says: "Finally we stepped in front of a different question: we asked after the value of this will to truth - and there can be no more dangerous question than this".

Perhaps one could say that it was the sceptic who discovered that all truth seeking urges in man (and especially in the philosophers) are really urges to power - urges to become more powerful. Nietzsche says: "Philosophy is itself the most spiritual will to power, it is creation of the world out of the mind of man."

The sceptic becomes a believer in power who can only be refuted by a rival power. Each interpretation of the self is a quantum of power on the part of the "ass", i.e. the believer, who asserts such an interpretation. So, the believer maintains its belief by force of will alone.


So, the 'sceptic' maintains the protean nature of the self by endowing it with powerful advantages, whereas 'beliefs' are the necessary fictions that are the substance of those advantages - beliefs are the substance of the inerpretations and valuations.

Because Nietzsche is a very personal thinker this renders the relationships between the self and the 'believer' and 'skeptic' somewhat difficult, but interesting nonetheless.

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Arjuna
 
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 06:49 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;121871 wrote:
According to Nietzsche, the world is a fiction. Nietzsche says: "It is not the truth or falsity of a claim, but the value of the claim for the enhancement of life or the preservation of the species man". Falsehoods, or beliefs, are necessary for the self to exist, but they are still false.
So any claim is either life-giving or deadening. A deadening claim would be tossed aside by what... the will of the species to live? I'm not arguing... I'm trying to understand what you're getting at.

Pythagorean;121871 wrote:
The world is a perspectival fiction. The "will to truth" of the believer is merely an expression of the believer's power drives - see e.g. "Beyond Good and Evil" Section 1, where Nietzsche says: "Finally we stepped in front of a different question: we asked after the value of this will to truth - and there can be no more dangerous question than this".
My point was that the believer is the part of you that does not contain any "will to truth." Its the part of you that simply believes... what ever belief one might want to name.

The will to truth is the great destroyer. Any system of thought will collapse if we probe at its foundations. The will to truth happens when a system of thought has served its purpose and is ready to die and be replaced. Only then does the believer fade. Prior to that, there is no will of any kind that could diminish the integrity of the believer... because at that point, the believer is an aspect of the will to live. Only when there is a change in perspective and the believer doesn't want to let go, does it become a threat to life... because it's obstructing the natural flow through death to reintegration, reformation. Is this not the value of the will to truth... to destroy?

What confounds me about Nietzche is that he at one point seems to suggest a natural process, and at the next, he seems to be speaking on behalf of the will to truth in a way that is venomously malicious. That's just the biggest bunch of crap, in my opinion.

Thanks for the post... I see it's Beyond Good and Evil that I want to read.
 
JustinH phil
 
Reply Sat 23 Jan, 2010 03:28 pm
@Arjuna,
Quote:
Nietzsche says: "It is not the truth or falsity of a claim, but the value of the claim for the enhancement of life or the preservation of the species man".


Wow. This goes a long way in anticipating William James's pragmatism.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2010 02:25 am
@JustinH phil,
Beyond Good And Evil

[CENTER]Part One: On The Prejudices of Philosophers[/CENTER]

[CENTER]1.[/CENTER]

The will to truth, which is still going to tempt us to many a hazardous enterprise; that celebrated veracity of which all philosophers have hitherto spoken with reverence: what questions this will to truth has already set before us! What strange, wicked, questionable questions! It is already a long story - yet does it not seem as if it has only just begun? Is it any wonder we should at last grow distrustful, lose our patience, turn impatiently away? That this sphinx should teach us too to ask questions? Who really is it that here questions us? What really is it in us that wants 'the truth'? - We did indeed pause for a long time before the question of the origin of this will - until finally we came to a complete halt before an even more fundamental question. We asked after the value of this will. Granted we want truth: why not rather untruth? And uncertainty? Even ignorance? - The problem of the value of truth stepped before us - or was it we who stepped before this problem? Which of us is Oedipus here? Which of us sphinx? It is, it seems, a rendevous of questions and question-marks. And, would you believe it, it has finally almost come to seem to us that this problem has never before been posed - that we have been the first to see it, to fix our eye on it, to hazard it? For there is a hazard in it and perhaps there exists no greater hazard.
 
 

 
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