Sunday, March 09, 2008

III. A Tragic Conclusion

But I could be wrong. About everything I have written about in this work.

Factually wrong – not artistically wrong.

The beauty and grandeur of an interpretation of the world (alias philosophy) is what is now decisive for its value, i.e. it is judged as art. Its form will probably change: The rigid mathematical formula (as in Spinoza) which had such a soothing influence on Goethe now remains justified only as an aesthetic means of expression. (Nietzsche, PT, 49)

Even if all the science used by a philosopher or theorist turns out to be completely wrong sometime in the future, that does not matter. Aristotle’s ideas on science have been mostly disproven. Does that make Aristotle obsolete? Of course not. What is left after science has disproven certain elements of a philosopher’s work is the art: “philosophy does not follow the course of the other sciences, even if certain of the philosopher’s territories gradually fall into the hands of science. Heraclitus can never be obsolete” (PT, 53). I can only hope what I have written remains poetically true.

But there is no promise even of this. Influence waxes and wanes. Or I may be ignored during my lifetime, only to be rediscovered, or ignored completely. This is part of the tragedy of living, acting, and working. We do not know how much, if any, influence we will have – or if that influence will be positive or negative, no matter what our intentions. How else could the anti-nationalist, anti-socialist, anti-nihilist hater of anti-Semites be adopted by the anti-Semitic, nihilistic, National Socialists? Or, in a far less extreme misuse, how could the pluralistic postmodernists adopt the ideas of a man who said that “If we are ever to achieve a culture, unheard-of artistic powers will be needed in order to break the unlimited knowledge drive, in order to produce unity once again. Philosophy reveals its highest work when it concentrates the unlimited knowledge drive and subdues it to unity” (PT, 30)? Nietzsche wants to “produce unity once again,” while the postmodernists, particularly through deconstruction, have only contributed to the “unlimited knowledge drive.” We must not only unify knowledge, but “The culture of a people is manifest in the unifying mastery of their drives: philosophy masters the knowledge drive; art masters ecstasy and the formal drive;  masters , [agape masters eros], etc.” (PT, 46). We must unify our drives into art, we must unify eros, which isolates the loved from the unloved, into agape, brotherly love, the love of all. This is not to say we should sacrifice the one to the other. We must remember that Nietzsche does not want one side or the other to win, since if one side wins, that will be the end of agon, the end of creativity. Both are necessary.

Thus, I am willing to stand by this work, knowing I may be wrong about some things in it. I stand by it because in this work I have attempted to unify multiple perspectives, create complexity within simplicity in my style, make a creative work which will hopefully be generative, create rhythms – both regular and fractal – with my style, hierarchically organized the work, and shown the self-similarity of all aspects of the universe. If I may be allowed to be so bold: while Kant suggests in his Metaphysics of Morals that he knows his theory of morals is correct because it is incomprehensible, I will rather suggest that I know what I have presented here is correct because – having all of the above – it is beautiful.

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