The Twilight Of The Idylls

“I am trying to be useful to those who are worthy of being seriously and opportunely introduced to philosophy. This attempt may or may not succeed. I am only too well aware that it can be surpassed and I wish nothing more than that I might be imitated and surpassed to the benefit of this philosophy. Persons such as those mentioned above are advised – with good reason – to read Plato rather than to trust themselves to the guidance of the popular academic professional philosophers. Above all, they should unlearn all sorts of stupidities and become simple and natural.”* – Friedrich Nietzsche

On Consciousness Raising and Educating The People

It appears that social consciousness was appreciably higher before campaigns to raise it became all the rage. It also appears that The People were significantly smarter before it became chic for the uninformed to undertake the education of the unenlightened, and vice-versa. People who want to educate you are inevitably foolish enough to be certain that you’re not as smart as they are, and naďve enough to expect glowing gratitude in return for their generous gifts of extravagant BS. It’s the thought that counts? That’s precisely the problem… Someone who wishes you to think for yourself has no illusion of educating you: inspiring you, angering you, perplexing you; those are possibilities.

On Tolerance

The pursuit of tolerance does not justify intimidating people for holding intolerant views. If tolerance can’t tolerate intolerance, it’s not really tolerant at all. One bad attitude tends to invite another; dislike attracts dislike (funny how that works). In order to be truly tolerant, tolerance must tolerate intolerance: if it does not, it has strangled itself at birth, and that sounds like really bad karma.

On Social Engineering

Social engineers operate on the assumption that people are like lab rats or Pavlov’s dogs, and should be manipulated or tortured into altering their own behavior. They consider the world a large laboratory, and think nothing of conducting massive social experiments on entire populations without informing them or asking consent. Social engineers appear to be unconcerned with the risks of their projects, and oblivious to the damage they do on the psycho-spiritual level. Given enough rope they’ll throw humanity back to the Stone Age, where primitive considerations of pain, reward, and survival in a harsh environment prevented the civilizing cultivation of loftier instincts.

On Religion In Schools

People who loathe the idea of religion in schools often have no compunction in imposing atheism, or anti-religion, on the classroom. This does not promote freedom of choice but freedom from choice, which is really no freedom at all. No honest effort toward freedom of choice in education can stop short of including ample accommodation for religious preferences. Freedom in education is undermined by the elimination of religion as a subject of study or a practice, and it’s a disservice of epic proportions to deny coming generations the basic insights that an understanding of religion allows into human history and current events. Religion and education are incompatible to the extent that the state has insinuated itself into education. Perhaps a better comprehension of religious ideology among The People would have kept The State on its secular toes, and Armageddon would sound far more improbable than it does today.

On Experts

An ‘expert’ is someone who has thrown down an anchor in a placid harbor of shallow certainties, rather than brave the uncertain depths of a vast and largely uncharted ocean of knowledge and wisdom. The expert ridicules the intrepid explorer who prefers to ride the waves of consciousness, adrift in search of new horizons to discover. The expert looks backward, surveying previous maps and models; the explorer, looking forward, is content to construct new models and create new maps for the next generation of experts to croon over. So it goes; and the sage appreciates both and despises neither, shuttling to and fro between certainty and uncertainty: looking forward now and backward then, gleaning seeds from the stubble of exhausted fields of knowledge to plant them again in fresh and fertile fields for the future.

On Good And Evil

There is no clear distinction between good and evil apart from the mind and the eye of the beholder; appearances depend on perspectives. As day becomes night via the dusk, and night becomes day via the dawn, and as the day is darkened by shadows and the night brightened by starlight, good and evil are a continuum, and complementary concepts. Good and evil do not exist independently of each other, but only in contrast in relation to each other and a fixed point of reference. Yin and yang express this concept nicely: there can be no good or evil which does not contain the seed element of its counterpart, and the soil in which it can take root and grow. To discern good and evil from one’s perspective is to be human; to discern the difference between one’s perspective and another’s is to be exceptionally human; to reconcile antagonistic perspectives is to approach the divine.

* Philosophy And Truth: Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the Early 1870’s, Edited and translated by Daniel Breazeale, Humanity Books, 1999.

In reference to the quoted passage, Breazeale notes: “The idea that a ‘natural’ state of being is something which has to be deliberately achieved, a goal and not a lost, pre-existing condition of man, becomes very important in Nietzsche’s later writings.”

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