Archive for November, 2006

Chapter 5: Jasper’s Nietzsche

November 26, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Chapter 5

I finished reading the chapter titled World Exegesis a couple days ago. These chapters are huge. Jaspers comes on strong at the end of this chapter. Nietzsche says that any interpretation of the world must be bounded by the body. But Jaspers believes in God. He writes something almost unintelligible to me about Nietzsche’s failings to incorporate the spiritual world. I’ll go on about this:

In criticizing the two-world theory, Nietzsche only dealt with its formulation as a crude rationalistic dualism that does indeed end in an empty beyond or in nothingness. In thinking in this fashion, he had to dispense with all those ways of using the categories “reality and appearance,” “truth and illusion,” “being and existence,” which permit them – apart from any assumption about the world outside the present one – to express such existential tenets as the transparency of things and the cipher-nature of the world. During these periods of his thinking, he took no cognizance of all those interpretations of world being, gained in meditative probing, in which (in accordance with his own demands) no concession is made to what does not show itself to be present here and now and which yet avoid a narrowing of world-being to particular categories or to that which can be grasped in determinate knowledge: in them, no “other world” reflects a deceptive dream, and their relation to absolute transcendence (God) supports, within this world, the self-being of those who entertain them in their thoughts.

Remember This

November 11, 2006

I read this blog regularly. She’s a part of this blog every day in November group, and well if you’re going to blog every day, you’ve got to write something. Sometimes I think it’s better to write nothing. Sometimes I do what I don’t think is better. Oh, call me a hypocrite.

I wasn’t going to write about Remembrance Day. I wasn’t. And then I read her post. It’s inoffensive, almost fence sitting, maybe leaning a little to the peace-nik side of the war debate. But that’s what the debate surrounding today usually comes down to: do you want to glorify war or are you fascist bait? Because I’ll tell you, you’d be licking Hitler’s boots if our boys didn’t go over there to fight this war for you.

So this is part of what I wrote:

I don’t wear a poppy. It’s hard. I see these creaky old men welling up with remembrance, I want to respect them, but they’ve got it so wrong. Walking around without a poppy says “I don’t remember.” At it’s most innocent it says that. But I do remember and the symbol lies.

The idea that we’d have no freedom if the soldiers hadn’t fought the good wars is a lie. People have fought for our freedom, that’s true, but it wasn’t soldiers, and in a lot of cases soldiers were used to oppose the freedoms we enjoy.

No soldier fought for a woman’s right to vote. Where were the soldiers during the civil rights movement? Who fought for equal pay for equal work? Who fought for labour laws? Most of our freedoms come of controls wrested from our governments. And soldiers are the tools of government.

Pick up Pierre Berton’s The Great Depression. You’ll see that Canada worked to keep out Jews; that Canada had its own burgeoning fascist and anti-semetic movement. And that Canada was doing its best to squash its workers’ movement.

There were civil movements all through Europe opposed to fascism; opposed to the crushing of their freedom. Again, all the freedoms we speak of are freedoms won by people out of uniform fighting our government. If the fascists had won the war, they’d have lost the civil war, just like our government has.

Our freedoms are always under threat, and if we can’t remember how they were actually won, we may one day lose them, or at least have to fight for them, out of uniform, once again.

Over on her blog I used one for won. God Hates Homonyms. That’s a joke. But Homos are another group that had to fight their own battles. And really our battles aren’t over. Right here in Canada, the homeless need homes. Children need to be fed and better schools need to teach those well fed kids properly, whatever that means, but the battle should be waged. We need to fight to build that foundation so we can get back to fighting for human dignity and freedom.

Every year at this time we’re asked to remember that our government’s soldiers gave us our freedom and keep us safe. How are we supposed to remember something that isn’t true? Are our homeless safe? Are the internet surfing class safe from the homeless? Are we free from our government? Free to act as a community? Free to speak as an individual? What we need to remember is the tenuous freedoms we have are gifts from people, strong people, out of uniform, people like ourselves, people who did it for themselves, for their sisters and brothers, and for their own and their neighbours’ kids. We need to remember that their struggle isn’t over and that their struggle is now our struggle.

Remembrance Day is the perfect day to remember the less fortunate, to remember that it’s our duty to pick up where the freedom fighters of the past left off. It’s not like I’m trying to change the meaning of a festive day like Christmas, showing you images of starving children in Africa you can do nothing about. We can solve our problems here in Canada, and today is a good day to remember that.

Chapter 4: Great Politics

November 8, 2006

I finished this chapter a couple days ago. If I’d tried to write something about what I read on a daily basis, it’d come out a lot differently than it is now. It’s interesting to me that if I’d have written about it only yesterday this post would be .., no, this post wouldn’t be. I think about that sometimes, about how the things I’ve done as I’ve done then, the things that have happened as they’ve happened, what I’ve wanted, what’s been realized, anyone who’s ever lost something they’ve written knows that a moment comes only once.

Yesterday, instead of writing about Chapter 4, I ran over to the East Van Cinema and watched US vs. John Lennon. I was 10 when John Lennon was shot. I remember where I was when I heard. At least I think I remember, but I missed pretty much his entire life before that. I’d heard his music. It’s the kind of thing a child enjoys. I still enjoy it, in the same way I eat oatmeal everyday. But during the film there were two moments I saw someone incredible. He’s dancing on the street, wearing a white suit, with Yoko. He does a leg kick. Pure magic. He moved like a god among men. The other moment was at a press conference for the WAR IS OVER billboard campaign he and Yoko ran. One question was who’s paying. John was, but he mentioned that some others were coming forward to help with the cost. The follow up question was, “How much?” and John says I don’t know, less that someone’s life. The way he said it, without thinking and without dwelling on it, I mean he was talking about something else immediately was pretty powerful, like a punch in the stomach. A punch in the stomach is different from one to the face. When you feel the pain in your face you’re thinking ouch, I just got hit, but to the stomach you’re aware you’ve been hit, and then you’re thinking ouch, that hurt.

Lennon says in the movie, “I’m an artist first, a politician second.” He was a great artist, and a great politician, in the sense of Nietzsche’s great politics. The great politics about fighting for the power to make the decisions about what counts as truth. Nietzsche instructs us to Fight for this power. Jasper writes, “From the standpoint of great politics it means fighting with the aid of the creative thoughts which invisibly shape and transform men. Truth attains actuality only in the struggle for power; here lies both its source and its limit.”

The end of history

November 2, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The End of History

This isn’t really the end of history, but I have read the history chapter Of the Jaspers book of Nietzsche. And I can’t stop myself from quipping slogans, bumper stickers, lines from songs. It is a blogging thing to do; quickly quip and run. Who’s got time for any kind of thinking beyond what can be printed on a t-shirt?

Ok, I do. That’s one of the benefits of not having a day job. A little time to think. I saw Edmond last night. A little time to think and a bit of chatter will get you sodomized. Would that fit on a t-shirt? And then the graffiti is everywhere this morning. I guess Halloween is the night insurrectionists and revolutionaries spray their historic idea in alley ways.

Well Tense, you are on to something with your rejection of history. Maybe it’s just the rejection. The latest issue of WIRED has The New Atheists artfully texted on its cover. But that’s how the media works. History doesn’t exist. Every scheduled issue is a constant expression of the new. It’s almost a good article. Really a review of three books bound together in a pseudo-quest narrative. It could have been good if it was a little less of an attempt, maybe.

Nietzsche does predict a collapse of the world with the end of the faith on which the world was built. He made this prediction over 100 years ago, but here we are. Has faith not collapsed or were the world builders hypocritical pronouncing a faith and building upon something else?