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Sunday, 21 May 2006

Alchemical Adept

The many-too-many like to say that Nietzsche 'contradicts himself'.
This is only said by those who believe in 'antithetical values'.
They think that to speak of the base and the precious in the same breath is contradictory,but they do not realise that base metals and precious metals are formed of the same stuff.
The base is a decadent aspect while the precious is an ascendent aspect of the primary material.
Nietzsche is the alchemist of the will to power as he transmutes the degenerate stuff of modernity and gregarious slavish instincts into the gold of the superman.

This is why he asks in section 2 of BGE;
"How could anything originate out of its opposite?For example,truth out of error?or the will to truth out of the will to deception?or the generous deed out of selfishness?or the pure sun-bright vision of the wise man out of covetousness?..."

He then posits the alchemist's response;
"It might even be possible that what constitutes the value of those good and respected things,consists precisely in their being insidiously related,knotted,and crocheted to these evil and apparently opposed things-perhaps even in being essentially identical with them".[BGE,2]

The 'revaluation of all values' is equivalent to the Philosopher's Stone.
Philosophy like alchemy is a solitary enterprise.
Alchemy derives from blacksmithing;Nietzsche,like a Smith,philosophises with a hammer.
He forges the sword whose shadow is the philosopher's happiness.

The philosopher is the physician of the soul.

"In my book 'Antibarbarus' I had discussed the psychology of sulphur".

In the Preface to BGE Nietzsche describes dogmatic philosophy,Platonism,Christianity and astrology as monstrous falsehoods,making "promises across millennia".

Adherents of all the above systems still abound in the world and are likely to describe their own system as exclusively true,and the others as all false.
So for example the Christian will heap abuse on the astrologer,and the rational philosopher deride the superstitions of the Theist,and so on.

But Nietzsche shows that all those systems are false in their own way.The dogmatic philosopher is no better at truth than the astrologer.
Does it matter that a great piece of intellectual architecture is not 'true'?
Should we rather not look at the efficacy of the system and ask;does it enhance life?;does it enrich the spirit?

Not only that,we should look at the amount of creativity,wisdom and knowledge that has been poured into the template of those systems.

To make the matter clearer we might look at the most 'superstitious' of the systems mentioned,astrology.
Taking on board Nietzsche's remark;
"Why have truth,why not rather untruth?"[BGE,1],
We can understand C.G.Jung's position;
"Astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity".[Jung,'Psychology and Alchemy']
The "old gods of the planets" were the "astrological components of destiny" which preserved "the bridge" between consciousness and its "natural roots in the unconsciousness psyche".
"Astrology led consciousness back again and again to the knowledge of the dependence of character and destiny on certain moments in time".[Jung,ib.]

Nietzsche's 'eternal recurrence' is founded on this aspect;
"That which was once possible could present itself as a possibility for a second time only if the Pythagoreans were right in believing that when the constellation of the heavenly bodies is repeated,the same things,down to the smallest event,must also be repeated on earth.But that will no doubt happen only when the astronomers have again become astrologers". [Nietzsche,'2nd Unfashionable Observation'.]

Both his emphasis on psychology and his sense of destiny became more and more acute as Nietzsche's philosophy evolved.
To return to the [Nietzschean] Jung;
"Science began with the stars,and mankind discovered in them the dominants of the unconscious,the 'gods',as well as the curious psychological qualities of the Zodiac;a complete projected theory of human character,astrology is a primordial experience similar to alchemy".[Jung,ib.]

Blake with his 'Infernal method' and the afore-mentioned Strindberg were both alchemical Nietzscheans.
All in all we see that astrology,alchemy and philosophy are monuments to radical perspectivism.

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