Tag Archives: Friedrich Nietzsche

Omnium Gatherum: May 21th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 21st, 2014

Punishment in the Afterlife "sees a naked person without performing prayers"
“If someone sees a naked person without performing prayers, they will have committed much sin” [HT Public Domain Review, Boing Boing]

 

  • Why everything you know about wolf packs is wrong” — Lauren Davis, io9

    “A key problem with [Rudolph] Schenkel’s wolf studies is that, while they represented the first close study of wolves, they didn’t involve any study of wolves in the wild.”

    “‘The concept of the alpha wolf as a ‘top dog’ ruling a group of similar-aged compatriots,’ [David] Mech writes in the 1999 paper, ‘is particularly misleading.’”

    “And perhaps someday, our popular culture will more closely resemble our modern behavioral science rather than the results of outdated research.”

  • Angels, Toilets and Graffiti Revealed at Sudanese Monastery” — Past Horizons

    “Cleaning of the plaster also allowed us to discover dozens of previously unknown inscriptions and drawings depicting both saints and images of Jesus. The study of the inscriptions is carried out by Dr. Grzegorz Ochała from the University of Warsaw. His analysis shows that, as in many other places in medieval Nubia, the cult of angels was extremely popular in al-Ghazali. Among the inscriptions on the walls of the North Church, Dr. Ochała identified the names of the four archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel.”

  • 50 Years Ago: Testimony of Kerry Wendell Thornley” — Historia Discordia

    “Mr. JENNER.
    All right. I take it from the remark you have made in your reflecting on this matter that you were you devoted yourself to some fairly considerable extent to reading?

    Mr. THONRLEY.
    Yes, sir.

    Mr. JENNER.
    And in what fields?

    Mr. THONRLEY.
    Completely omniverous. Anything that I would happen to get a hold of I would read. At that time I was reading, well, at [Lee Harvey] Oswald’s advice I read ’1984.’ At someone else’s advice I was reading a book called ‘Human-ism,’ by Corliss Lamont, as I remember, and I was reading either ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ or the ‘Idiot’ by Dostoievsky, I forget which, at that time.

    Mr. JENNER.
    But your reading had some reasonable amount of organization or direction?

    Mr. THONRLEY.
    None whatsoever; no, sir. It never has.”

  • Thirty Years of ADF Part 1: An Incomplete Memoir of the First Ten Years” — Ian Corrigan, Into the Mound

    “The work of organizing is the ditch-cutting and rock-hauling of our spiritual path. May the gods and spirits bless the laborers.”

  • What words do we have to describe transcendent religion?” — April D DeConick

    “I want to thank all of you who have responded to my request for a word to describe a particular worldview that sees all religions as inadequate human constructions of our experience of a transcendent sacred, rather than divine revelations of God to different local populations (pluralism/universalism/perennialism). I need this word for a new book project (after The Ancient New Age) where I am describing three options that have been emerging in the modern world to deal with religious intolerance. The third is the option without a name, at least yet!”

  • Discovering the Artists of the Eastern Sahara” — Past Horizons

    “Recently discovered rock art on the walls of a cave in the Egyptian Western Desert has been provisionally dated by a Cambridge University archaeologist as between 6,000 and 7,000 years old, created at least 1,000 years before the building of the pyramids. The drawings add weight to the argument that Egyptian culture drew on cultural influences from Africa and not only from the Near East.”

  • Scientists find way to turn light into matter” — RT News

    “Researchers in London have found a way to make matter from light, using high powered lasers. The idea behind the theory was first thought up 80 years ago by two physicists, who were to work later on creating the world’s first atomic bomb.”

    “They have managed to create a machine called a photon-photon collider, which would turn light into matter. However, the type of matter they are looking to create will be invisible to the naked eye.”

  • Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t Impossible. Here’s Where We Start” — Laura Hudson, Wired Underwire

    “Really, freedom of speech is beside the point. Facebook and Twitter want to be the locus of communities, but they seem to blanch at the notion that such communities would want to enforce norms—which, of course, are defined by shared values rather than by the outer limits of the law. Social networks could take a strong and meaningful stand against harassment simply by applying the same sort of standards in their online spaces that we already apply in our public and professional lives. That’s not a radical step; indeed, it’s literally a normal one.”

    “Ultimately, online abuse isn’t a technological problem; it’s a social problem that just happens to be powered by technology. The best solutions are going to be those that not only defuse the Internet’s power to amplify abuse but also encourage crucial shifts in social norms, placing bad behavior beyond the pale.”

  • ‘Madness’ of Nietzsche was cancer not syphilis — Robert Matthews, The Telegraph

    “A study of medical records has found that, far from suffering a sexually-transmitted disease which drove him mad, [Friedrich] Nietzsche almost certainly died of brain cancer.

    The doctor who has carried out the study claims that the universally-accepted story of Nietzsche having caught syphilis from prostitutes was actually concocted after the Second World War by Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum, an academic who was one of Nietzsche’s most vociferous critics. It was then adopted as fact by intellectuals who were keen to demolish the reputation of Nietzsche, whose idea of a ‘Superman’ was used to underpin Nazism.”

    “Despite the lack of documentary or medical evidence, the allegation has since been repeated without question by generations of academics, said Dr [Leonard] Sax. ‘Extraordinarily, this single passage in Lange-Eichbaum’s obscure book is the chief foundation, cited again and again, that Nietzsche had syphilis.’

    Nietzsche scholars welcomed the new findings and said that they would help in the rehabilitation of the philosopher. ‘Nietzsche was not anti-semitic or a nationalist, and hated the herd mentality,” said Prof Stephen Houlgate, a Nietzsche scholar at Warwick University. ‘If this new research gets rid of another misconception about him, I’m delighted.’”

  • Intro to Thelema — Three Recommended Books” — Brandy Williams, Star and Snake

    “[Aleister Crowley's] language is Edwardian English, educated, dense, and often offensive — in fact deliberately so. Not only that, he sometimes wrote in code or symbolic language, not unusual in magic, but requiring a key to decode. It takes some time to develop the Crowley Filter translating what he says into understandable and useful information. When his work is not confusing or upsetting, it is knowledgeable, insightful, and deeply inspiring.”

  • In Addition to What Thou Wilt: Our Thelemic Temple’s Revised Rules” — Zak Parsons, Something Awful [HT Quadrivium Supplies]

    “Your journey to understanding may be long and arduous, but that is no reason not to close the chip bag.”

  • The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age” — Joshua Benton, Nieman Journalism Lab

    “We must push back against our perfectionist impulses. Though our journalism always needs to be polished, our other efforts can have some rough edges as we look for new ways to reach our readers.”

  • Sturgill Simpson Puts a Metamodern Spin on Country Music” — Stephen M Deusner, CMT News

    “Sturgill Simpson was recently accosted after a show in Wisconsin by a woman who accused him of promoting Gnosticism with his new single, ‘Turtles All the Way Down.’ The song discusses Jesus, Satan, Buddha and ‘reptile aliens made of light’ before revealing that ‘love’s the only thing that ever saved my life.’”

    “It’s not every country singer who gets accused of Gnosticism — or even knows what it means.”

  • Between Alchemy and Pietism” — Mike A Zuber, Correspondences 2.1

    “A minor figure undeservedly forgotten, Wilhelm Christoph Kriegsmann (1633–1679) has received only limited attention from historians of alchemy and church historians. He is known chiefly either for his idiosyncratic Phoenician reconstruction of the Tabula Smaragdina, a foundational text of alchemy attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, or alternatively for writing one of the earliest sustained defenses of Pietist conventicles to appear in print. In an attempt to bridge this unsatisfactory segregation, this paper argues that the notion of ancient wisdom (prisca sapientia) provided a crucial link between these seemingly disparate areas.”

  • 20 Questions With Gary Lachman” — Jason Mankey, Raise the Horns

    11. There were a lot of moments in your Crowley book that had me laughing at some of his antics. I know a lot of Thelemites and fans of Crowley who take everything the man ever wrote, said, or did extremely seriously. How do you think Crowley would feel about that? Was he capable of laughing at himself?

    He could laugh at himself on occasion, but I think he was too involved in what other people thought of him, of his effect on them, to be really un-selfconscious in the way you need to be to have a sense of humor about yourself. He was very rarely out of character. He can be very funny though. Someone asked him what one should call a young, male swan. He answered ‘Why not call him Edgar?’ He had a quick, intelligent wit and I found myself laughing quite a few times while doing the research.”

    15. I sometimes find myself referring to Crowley affectionately as ‘Uncle Al,’ but Crowley was certainly not all sunshines and rainbows. How do you feel about the modern tendency to overlook many of Crowley’s faults?

    That’s one aspect of the book. Yes, let’s clear up all the tabloid rubbish that was published about him in his day, but let’s also not make him out to be some liberating hero. He was a brilliant, highly talented individual who had more than a few flashes of genius, but he was a colossal pain to practically everyone around him. In other words, let’s not be hero-worshippers or ignorant detractors, but serious about understanding who and what he was. There’s no point in approaching him or anyone else in any other way.”

  • An excerpt posted by Gary Lachman from his book Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World can be found at “Crowley on the Bowery

     

  • The Strange, Secret History of Isaac Newton’s Papers” — Adam Mann, Wired

    “When Sir Isaac Newton died in 1727, he left behind no will and an enormous stack of papers. His surviving correspondences, notes, and manuscripts contain an estimated 10 million words, enough to fill up roughly 150 novel-length books. There are pages upon pages of scientific and mathematical brilliance. But there are also pages that reveal another side of Newton, a side his descendants tried to keep hidden from the public.”

    “The story of Newton’s writing and how it has survived to the modern day is the subject of a new book, The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts. Author Sarah Dry traces their mysterious and precarious history and reveals both the lucky twists and purposeful turns that kept the papers safe.”

     

  • The Rules of the New Aristocracy” — J Michael Straczynski [HT Boing Boing]

    “We are the New Aristocracy because we were born into it. We got our money the old fashioned, Medieval way: our parents gave it to us. We were born into the wealth that we stole from you and your family over the last fifty years. You were not born into anything other than poverty and struggle. You will never be us. You will never have our advantages. And we like it that way.”

    “And you are the New Peasants.”

  • Announcing: The Diotima Prize!” — Sam Webster, Pantheon Foundation [HT Spiral Nature]

    “The Pantheon Foundation announces The Diotima Prize to help support the educational goals of one Pagan student who is currently in an accredited seminary program.

    The merit-based Prize is named for Diotima of Mantinea, the philosopher and priestess who is the teacher of Socrates in the Symposium of Plato, explaining to him the path of Divine ascent through the contemplation of Eros and Beauty.”

  • Hermetic Intelligence” — zeteticus, Soul Spelunker

    “The primary way the soul is deepened is through imagination.”

  • Eliza Gauger, tumblr

    “Susan Schoon Eberly, an expert on congenital disorders, delineates the origins of fairy lore through a historical-biological lens, matching discernable patterns of appearance and behavior from changeling legends to disabilities now understood by medical science.”

    “‘there are a number of fairy characters…who seem so clearly to represent certain congenital disorders that they are difficult to interpret as purely the products of imagination’”

  • Hermetic Library anthology artist Pandemonaeon, Sharon Knight and Winter, are going on summer tour and have a new “secret society for creative dreamers” called Ring of Enchantment for fans to become patrons in order “to generate tour support for us while bringing inspiration and beauty to you”.

     

  • Hermetic Library anthology artist SickTanicK has produced and appears on the new SKR mixtape release, which includes the single “Teach Me How To Satan”, SKR Made You Do It, being made available at no cost for streaming and download.

     

  • American Atheists, tweet

     

  • Buddy Baphomet, tweet

     

The Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel: Philosophy of History or Eschatological Fiction? by Walter C Cambra, a 1993 thesis, approved by Jacob Needleman and Donald Provence, has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of the author.

Walter C Cambra The Book of Daniel

“This thesis attempts to demonstrate that the canonical Book of Daniel is an example of what Friedrich Nietzsche refers to as a text based upon a morality of resentment. Furthermore, this thesis argues that many symbols in the Book of Daniel are based upon material that has an historical milieu originating in the sixth century B.C. and which was incorporated into the redacted text of the second century B.C. producing a new eschatological scheme.”

Tragic Posture and Tragic Vision

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Tragic Posture and Tragic Vision: Against the Modern Failure of Nerve by John A Ruprecht, Jr.

Louis A Ruprecht Jr Tragic Posture and Tragic Vision

This wide-ranging meditation combines several elements: a rehabilitation of the concept of tragedy, a condemnation of the “tragic posture” as a feature of modern reflection, and theory about continuity and discreteness in religion. Author Ruprecht first sets himself against his contemporary theorists Alasdair MacIntyre and George Steiner, whom he takes as exponents of the (false) tragic posture of fatalistic pessimism. Then, in order to clarify what he understands as the (true) tragic vision, he begins with the classics, focusing especially on Sophocles’ Antigone as an exemplar. He moves from there into Hegel’s ideas about tragedy, and then to Nietzsche’s. He is not in perfect concurrence with either of these thinkers, but he sees their ideas as a tonic against the tragic posture, even if Nietzsche seems to court it in his later works.

Finally, Ruprecht takes issue with Nietzsche’s “Dionysus versus the Crucified” motto, postulating instead (like some of the Romantics whom Nietzsche criticized) that Jesus was a sympathetic development of Dionysus rather than an oppressive reaction against the pagan tragic ideal. He makes his case by championing the gospel of Mark as a tragic “performance,” focusing on the garden of Gethsemane, and indulging in a full comparison of the four canonical gospels with respect to this episode. In this longest section of the book, Ruprecht conspires with Frank Kermode (whose Genesis of Secrecy he repeatedly cites, though not always in agreement) to get me to view Mark as the best of the four Evangelists, whether or not he is the most “primitive.”

Particularly in the chapter on Nietzsche, and in a related appendix regarding the history of the Parthenon, Ruprecht insists on continuity over discreteness in religion and human experience generally. His opposition to the “tragic posture” is in large measure an objection to a modern exceptionalism (even if what is supposedly exceptional about modernity is its suckitude). I am rather sympathetic to this argument, without taking it to perennialist extremes — and Ruprecht doesn’t — but he also seems to want to view the question of technology (yes, he’s read his Heidegger) as a more peripheral or even cosmetic aspect of the modern condition, with its most significant consequences in degradation of the natural environment. This attitude makes me want to protest: Moore’s Law isn’t just a river in Egypt. [via]


The Shortest Shadow

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche’s Philosophy of the Two by Alenka Zupančič, part of the Short Circuits series from The MIT Press:

Alenka Zupančič's The Shortest Shadow

This book is a Lacanian psychoanalytic study of certain issues and themes in Nietzsche’s work. Author Zupančič is primarily concerned to offer a reading in which Nietzsche’s writing upholds and advances a Lacanian idea (I think? I have not read Lacan) of “the Real as the minimal difference of the same,” which is her interpretation of the figure of “the shortest shadow” among Nietzsche’s important “noon” tropes. According to Zupančič, this notion is the crux of a “philosophy of the two” to escape the sort of complementarity which reduces itself to unity.

I came to this book with a very different reading of “the shortest shadow,” and while Zupančič did not persuade me that hers was better, I did enjoy the book. The general gist is antimetaphysical without becoming a rationalist empiricism or materialist positivism — a feature of Nietzsche’s own work, to be sure. It is demanding, though; I found that even the least fatigue on my part could reduce the writing here to gobbledygook. There was more of value for me in the first half of the book than the second, although that was perhaps a function of my limits as a reader.

Zupančič appends an essay “On Love as Comedy,” which treats some of the same issues, without any direct references to Nietzsche. It had been written as a separate project. Somewhat disorientingly in the context of a volume on Nietzsche, its definition of the comedic genre does not relate to classical or even Shakespearean sources. Instead, the exemplars are the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin. And yet references to tragedy are still to Aeschylus, following Lacan.

I might read other volumes in this series edited by Slavoj Zizek — of which The Shortest Shadow is the second. But the experience of this one suggests that I could benefit from a little “remedial” reading in Lacan before I do. [via]

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Our God Is Dead

Our God Is Dead
Our God Is Dead, originally uploaded by Sam W Cole.

 

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
—Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann

 

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The Comedy of Agony

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Comedy of Agony: A Book of Poisonous Contemplations by Christopher Spranger from Leaping Dog Press:

Christopher Spranger's The Comedy of Agony from Little Dog Press

 

This slender volume of aphoristic meditations can be read in a variety of ways. One possibility is to consider it to be instructional scripture by Tyler Durden. Another would be a rich mine of sigfile quotes guaranteed to offend the pious and conventionally-minded. I think this one may need to go in my Christmas cards: “Had she only miscarried, the Virgin Mary could have saved the world.”

Spranger’s religious reflections presume a Biblical-Miltonian narrative, although his atheology has a wide scope, including admiration for the metaphysically sadistic aesthetics of Asian Buddhism. There’s no indication of familiarity with Aleister Crowley’s work, but Spranger’s strong affinity for and constant allusion to Nietzsche (who, unnamed throughout, is referenced once as “a certain leg-puller”) makes him a close cousin to Thelemites, at any rate. In particular, his piece on “The Attractions of Rage” makes a fine complement to Crowley’s chapter on love in Little Essays Toward Truth, and he makes some insightful remarks on the Thelemically-vexed term “compassion”: “Men to whom agony is unknown have grabbed a hold of this concept and perverted it completely, reducing it to something low and effortless, when in fact compassion requires risk and presupposes rank.”

Spranger is evidently resigned to embodiment, attachment, strife and sorrow, but he writes that like it’s a bad thing. One wonders what the return of Saturn has in store for the 28-year-old author. [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Pax Hominibus Bonae Voluntatis by Aleister Crowley in International, Dec 1917.

“We have the most artistic photographs dating back not so long ago of Mr. Roosevelt with his arm around the Kaiser’s neck. Immediately before the war Mr. Herbert G. Wells published a book in which he said that Germany was the one country in the world worth living in. German science, German manners, German morals, German everything was the only love of Mr. Herbert G. Wells. No sooner did war break out than he published another book to prove that Germans were raving maniacs hypnotized by Nietzsche.” [via]