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Postby LD330 » Sun May 13, 2018 12:00 pm

I've noticed a difference in tenor between some Thelemites that are into Nietzsche and others that are not as familiar with his ideas. I thought it would be helpful to explain some of Nietzsche's philosophy.

As a prefigure, Nietzsche is directly referenced in Crowley's work as the best example of the "White School of Magick" in Magick Without Tears and as an injunction to "Read Nietzsche!" from the Magus figure in The Ordeal of Ida Pendragon.

The easiest way to explain Nietzsche is through the concepts of master/slave morality and sentiment/ressentiment.

In Master Morality the master decides that what is Good for Me, is Good. What is Not Good for Me, is Bad.

In Slave Morality the slave, unable to himself be a master, decides what is Good for the Master, is Evil. To the slave, Revenge against the Master is Good.

In this situation the Master's "Good" is positing a value. This value is usually unconscious, but with Nietzsche's philosophy, the idea is to pick one's own value, one's own idea of the "Good", and run with it.

With values we come to the idea of sentiment. When one posits a value ("What is Good For Me"), they are expressing a sentiment. This sentiment is almost "objective": in Crowley's terminology one could call it a magical current.

To have ressentiment is to move in against another's sentiment, to judge another's sentiment based on a current of ressentiment. Ressentiment is Revenge or Justice based on Slave Morality: one can simply like one's own sentiment for the sake that they choose it and they like it.

Nietzsche's philosophy is a philosophy of "Yes", of affirming sentiments and adding to them. A way to consider this is improv. "Yes, And...", always adding to the current.

The play of sentiments is the focus of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and On the Genealogy of Morality goes into Master and Slave Morality. Nietzche is a beautiful writer and his aphoristic books move into the nuances of his philosophy.

It's a bit cheesy for me now, as you end up so god damn ashamed for liking life and yourself, but:

"For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! At long last the search for knowledge will reach out for its due: — it will want to rule and possess, and you with it!"
"People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment."
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Re: Nietzsche

Postby Avshalom Binyamin » Sun May 13, 2018 1:21 pm

A couple things nazis forget about him:
He had a fallout with his sister for marrying a nazi.
After he died, she edited and published some of his stuff to make him seem pro nazi
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Re: Nietzsche

Postby gerry456 » Tue May 15, 2018 10:18 am

Have you heard of the ancient Greek concept of "agon"? They had an intense competitiveness ethic..much like the modern USA really. I hear that "agon" was also about total direct communication with no restraint ie insults would just fly constantly.
2.19 They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us.

2.21 We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world.
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Re: Nietzsche

Postby LD330 » Tue May 15, 2018 4:51 pm

I think German soldiers in World War 2 were given copies of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. I don’t really see the correlation between him and Nazism though outside of the fact he was German. You’re right about his sister. He was ostracized for a few years in philosophy but his image has since been cleaned up; not to say everyone likes his philosophy.

Another one of his ideas is that of perspectivism, that everyone has their own viewpoint which tends to confirm itself. To go “beyond good and evil” is to make up one’s own values out of love for life. This turns into the will-to-life which at its peak turns becomes the will-to-power. His “contempt for the masses” and “love of the overman” I read as coming out of sadness. Nietzsche’s contempt is love in the sense that he seeks to inspire others in the play of forces, to “knock them out of trance.” Better to spare no one in your tragic Dionysian rage than to leave one complacent.

He was a brilliant philosopher but so much of his work is so sad and unrealized. There’s an aphorism in Daybreak or the Gay Science that says that in my time on Earth I hoped to meet with human beings, but all I found were apes of their ideals.

“We are still not thinking.”

I’ve never heard of agon but I looked it up and it sounds like the play of forces.
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Re: Nietzsche

Postby Bryce Churchill » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:44 pm

I've been attempting to deduce which of Nietzsche's works Crowley may have read, to understand his influence on the philosophy of Thelema.

English translations began appearing in the 1890's. In Confessions, he mentions meeting a person who identified as a Nietzschean in 1902. The only book he mentions by name is 'The Antichrist,' however he probably at least read Beyond Good and Evil, Gay Science, and (judging from his influence on AC) probably whatever he could get his hands on at the time.

I compiled a list of all the instances I could find where he mentions Nietzsche (quite frequently throughout his life) —

[1907] Collected Works Vol. III
- A Mademoiselle le Modele — Dite Jones

[1910] The World’s Tragedy
- Preface: Christianity
- Preface: The Poem Itself

[1911] The Equinox Vol I, No VI
- The Ordeal of Ida Pendragon

[between 1905-1914] The Giant’s Thumb
- The Vindication of Nietzsche

[1915] Liber XV: The Gnostic Mass
- The Saints

[1916] Vanity Fair Magazine
- On the Management of Blondes

[1916] The Gospel According to St. Bernard Shaw
- The Teachings of Christianity
- For Better, For Worse

[1917] The International Vol XI, No 10
- Quelque Chose (Some Shows)

[1918] Liber Aleph vel CXI: The Book of Wisdom or Folly
- De Virtute Audendi (On the Virtue of Daring)
- De Poetis (On the Poets)

[1919] Liber LII: Manifesto of the O.T.O.

[1920] Diaries – July 11th, 1920

[1920] Diaries – July 17th, 1920

[1922] The Law is For All
- Chapter II, verse 21 commentary
- Chapter III, verse 57 commentary

[1923] Commentaries on Liber LXV: The Book of the Heart Girt With a Serpent
- Chapter V, verse 37 commentary

[1923] The Equinox Vol I, No X
- Liber XLVI: The Key of the Mysteries
* I: Unity (footnote)

[1926] The Revival of Magick
- A Letter to Henry Ford

[1930] The Confessions of Aleister Crowley
- Chapter 42
- Chapter 50
- Chapter 60
- Chapter 76
- Chapter 87

[1943] Magick Without Tears
- Chapter IV: The Qabalah: The Best Training for Memory
- Chapter VII: The Three Schools of Magick (part 2)
- Chapter XLVIII: Morals of AL—Hard to Accept, and Why Nevertheless We Must Concur
- Chapter LXX: Morality (part 1)

[1944] The Book of Thoth
- The Atu: The Fool—Hoor-pa-kraat

Most of these refer to Nietzsche's views on ethics and morality, but a few indicate that he was aware of some of the more metaphysical theories in his works.
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