From the Narrowness of Materialism to
the Breadth of Humanity and Faith. Part. 2*
Prof. Dr.Abdel Wahab El-Messiri**
Schopenhauer is a German nihilistic pessimistic philosopher, whose philosophy marks the beginning of the comprehensive liquidity stage. The first movement in Schopenhauer’s materialistic scientific philosophy adopting immanence is a total self-focus. At the preface of his book entitled The World as Will and Idea he stated: “The world is my idea about it”. Instead of “I think, therefore, I exist”, Schopenhauer said: “I have an absolute freedom, therefore, I exist”. He is talking about an internal self-consciousness as a will which is an initial self-generated one. This self-consciousness as a will differs from our physical self-consciousness. In another word, there are common features and a duality between will and body. In fact, the organic immanent systems always tend to narrow the spaces, fill the gaps and deny the dualities. Therefore, Schopenhauer affirmed that the processes and movements of the will produce that of the body, as body and will is one thing and body is just the place of the will. What I want and what I do is the same thing (we can notice, here, the main feature of the comprehensive liquidity: the attempt to remove the space between the self and the subject and surpass them towards a world with no gaps or interruptions).
According to Schopenhauer’s world which adopts the idea of immanence, self-focus leads to an extremist focus on the subject. Schopenhauer extended the concept of will to the whole world; saying that the whole world is a will, as will emerged from everywhere, it is a vital dedicated power which controls the universe and it is independently dynamic and effective, guiding human by giving orders to them. It is one materialistic principle embedded in the matter and motivating it. Everything in nature, such as powers and energies producing actions and influences, are just forms of this comprehensive will (the idea of will is derived from a natural/ materialistic idea, which is the idea of the power or energy).
The comprehensive will is not a reasonable organized principle which targets specific purposes and follows a designed plan to achieve them (as imagined by Hegel and other philosophies adopting the firm duality). Instead, it is a blind surge and a tyrant uncontrolled power, and reason, soul, intelligence are just tools in the hands of such oppressive power, as nature is in state of a perpetual meaningless struggle (so, the circle is the symbol of nature to represent this futile repetition). History also is an incarnation of nature so it has no meaning and has no end except the inevitable death.
Through observation, we understand the world according to its applicable potentials; by considering them as possible methods to fulfil the will. In fact causal relationship is a will, and knowledge is a method to achieve this will, to reach a more refined and powerful life. In addition, the scientific knowledge is a method to fulfil our needs, wishes and wills.
Human is a part of this universe. All of us are parts of a one lasting cosmic reality, although our spatio-temporal existence represents us as separate creatures. However, human is the only being who tries to hide his will under the mask of metaphysics (so, he speaks about objectivity, religion and noble goals…etc.). That’s why Schopenhauer called him the “metaphysical animal”, trying to refute this duality by maintaining the animal and eliminating the metaphysics (this is the milestone of the comprehensive liquidity stage). Hence, the function of philosophy is to make the individual realize that he is not the noumenon but a mere epiphenomenon, as he is nothing and that all objects, in all eras, are ghosts and illusions (extremist hostility towards universe).
Here, art can help us reach such realization. It frees us from goals, purposes, wishes, anxiety, individuality and personal interest and helps us merge with the comprehensive will and surrender to the super will and go beyond everything. Thus, Schopenhauer considered music to be the greatest of all art forms, as it is free from any spatial image and adopts time manifestation and expresses the deeds of the pleasure. For him, music is not a phenomenon but a direct manifestation of the comprehensive will itself.
The final solution and the only truth is that human adopts one of the most significant immanent systems which is Buddhism (after deviating from Buddha’s teachings and adopting an extremist Immanent perspective). In fact, Buddhism promotes the killing of will (which is the origin of all evils) and a soteriological release from the desire to live. Accordingly, every individual should liberate himself from any earthly matters and abstain from participating in any earthly activity; to reach the state of Nirvana. In this regard, Schopenhauer stated that the spread of the Hindu philosophy (absolute immanence) across Europe may cause a change in the knowledge and awareness of Europeans.
Nietzsche is a German nihilist secular philosopher and the first who deconstructs the western modernist enlightenment project which adopts a materialistic rational approach. Thus, he is, undoubtedly, the philosopher of the dark enlightenment and the materialistic irrationality. He was a son of a protestant preacher, and he studied German literature, religions and classical philology. He was a professor of the latter subject at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and accordingly, he became a Swiss citizen. He was influenced by Schopenhauer’s philosophy and Lange’s History of Materialism. People had neglected his writings till Georg Brandes, a Danish critic, started lecturing about them in Copenhagen (1888). Although he gained a wide universal fame, Nietzsche never knew. He suffered from a mental and physical breakdown in January (1889). His madness continued till his death
Among his famous writings we found:
- The Birth of Tragedy (1872)
- Human All-Too-Human (1878)
- The Gay Science (1882)
- Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
- On the Genealogy of Morality (1887).
- Yet, the most significant and famous one is “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”(1883), which is the backbone of western literature and philosophical thought.
To understand Nietzsche, we should have a brief account on the history of the modern western philosophy, because his philosophy formulates a significant moment in the contemporary western philosophical dilemmas that can only be understand by knowing the essence of Nietzsche’s philosophy. In fact,
The history of modern western philosophy began by the emergence of materialistic rationalism which was expressed through humanism during the era of renaissance. This philosophy regards the awakened human as the center of the universe and the position of immanence. Meanwhile, a secular philosophy, which regards the unaware matter as the center of the universe and the position of immanence, appeared. In fact, the history of the western philosophy represents a conflict between those two visions. Humanism presented human as a creature who is able to control himself and his emotions and invade and exploit universe by depending on his reason. Here, reason is defined as an object inside the individual which helps him discover the fixed cosmic rules. This means that rationalism assumes the presence of a constant human mind and fixed rules in an unsteady universe. Yet, it supposes that there is a similarity between reason and universe (self and subject). Such rational humanism prevailed during the eighteenth (18th) century, the age of reason and enlightenment, when the critical and experimental philosophy succeeded in getting rid of the religious pillar of knowledge and morality; making the changeable matter and its laws the only authority and the main pillar. However, it sets a cognitive and moral systems which depend on one fixed point, outside the changeable matter, such as reason, human nature and some other secular absolutes (such as inevitability of history- absolute reason- belief in progress…). Such absolutes suppose the presence of a fixed truth and a center to the universe. It supposes also the presence of an undivided macro, referring to the idea of the origin and the metaphysical foundation. To formulate (constant, absolute and transcendent) moral systems and to suppose the presence of a certainty outside world’s knowledge after eliminating the Christian morals are a form of retardation and a huge failure of the western philosophy, according to many devoted materialistic thinkers. In fact, this is a fall towards metaphysics and an attempt to achieve transcendence within the frame of the immanent authority. This means calling the divine origins of human instead of his materialistic natural origins and returning to the classical religious metaphysics. In another word, assuming the presence of such facts is against the firm secular and rational materialistic vision which inevitably relates the whole universe to one principle which is immanent in nature/matter and has no ability to surpass it.
Therefore, modern western philosophy was waiting for a philosopher who can take the reasonable forward step in the materialistic paradigm by freeing man from any inherited illusions about constancy, transcendence and totality, and fully secularizing the philosophical field by totally purify it from the “Shadows of God” (according to Nietzsche’s statement), this means purifying it from any (moral or cognitive) values, facts, totalities, dualities and purposes surpassing what is materialistic and direct, and totally destroy what is described by earlier philosophers (before Nietzsche) as a sacred, philanthropic, truth, beautiful, absolute and total. This is not only a total elimination of the cognitive certainty and the religious foundation of morality, but an elimination of the concept of morality itself and the idea of constant existence. Consequently, the world becomes a liquid system with no certainty, meaning, purpose, existence or identity. In fact, this is the essence of the dark enlightenment which is to crush the illusions of humanism. This is achieved not to liberate human but to destroy him and to deconstruct his independent constant nature and relate him to what is lower than himself. This is the essence of the concept of immanence, that world becomes with no center to maintain its coherence, unity, organization and reasonableness.
The development of the biological world makes the goal of purifying the philosophical systems form all kinds of related values, facts and feelings attainable, by applying their organic paradigms to the humanitarian field. Darwin presents his idea of a jungle where there is a continual struggle for survival and in which only the fittest (the strongest) survives. For him, there is a continuous motion in this jungle, a motion which cannot be judged by applying external standards. In this jungle, these struggles depend on something embedded in every creature and individual which is power. It has been proved that the cognitive and moral paradigms within the Darwin’s frame precisely depict the western society and the greedy European man during the middle of the nineteenth (19th) century, the age of imperialism, dominance and predation of man and nature. In fact, it is a paradigm justifying the process of invasion and predation by considering it an expression of the materialistic natural law and the cosmic laws. This means that the development of the biological sciences and the increase in imperialistic dominance pave the way for secularism to increase its rates and achieve a complete fulfillment.
Here, Nietzsche, the son of Darwin and the brother of Bismarck (according to John Dewey’s statement) appeared. He made a remarkable contribution to the western philosophy by developing an imperialist secular cognitive vision which all it needs armies and tanks to be fulfilled. His genuine greatness is due to his contribution in completing the philosophical mutation which help in achieving and crystalizing the materialistic secular paradigm. Thus, he established his philosophy on many immanent and nihilist categories of the materialistic vision. In addition, he announced his famous statement: “God is dead”. He, then, exerted his utmost effort to purify the world from any shadow might be left by God on earth after his death!
We can neglect the direct atheist declaration of this sentence to determine its content and cognitive connotations which do not refer to God only but human and universe. In this regard, Heidegger said that God, for Nietzsche, is the transcendent world surpassing our world, the world of senses, in which God is the ideas, ideals, absolutes, totalities, facts, and moral values.
It can be said that this statement actually means:
- The end of the idea of transcendent God, who surpasses the matter nature and history and who provides the universe with coherence, final goal; promoting the idea of matter-centrism. It is a complete immanence.
- The denial of the existence of any facts beyond the world of direct materialistic experiment and the world of becoming.
- The denial of the idea of the totality itself, the superior coherent entity. In another word, it denies the idea of matter-centrism.
- The world is scattered centerless parts.
- The denial of the idea of universalism and humanitarian.
- The end of metaphysics, and the end of the idea of the truth, because uprooting the traces of metaphysics represented by the discussion about the transcendent leads to uprooting the truth.
Hence, Nietzsche announced that the prevailing belief that human mind can reach a science that provides him with certainty and moral systems (means that science and reason can replace religion) is a mere illusion. For him, the centralization given to Man by humanism is a fake one, because human is a natural creature with no special significance. According to Copernicus, human is gradually moving towards belittling himself. What about his faith in his dignity and unique value? What about his belief that he is irreplaceable in the creature’s chain? All these beliefs are irreversibly vanished, as human becomes an arrant animal. Since Copernicus, it seems that human has found himself in a descending slope; he always rolls further and further away from his point of departure toward… nothing? Moreover, the idea considering human as an independent creature with a free self is also an illusion. The self is only a mask and an illusion inherited from the era of renaissance to satisfy our humanitarian ego. Furthermore, Nietzsche explicitly stated that nature itself is not sacred, because it is a group of conflicting powers. Thus, speaking about any absoluteness, consequently, is meaningless, because everything is materialistic and all materialistic things are equal and all equal things are relative. In fact, the modern philosophy (according to Nietzsche), is the philosophy in which the secular moment is fully achieved, is the one which is originated from the idea of the death of God and the vanquish of His shadows; demolishing any fixed or firm point or any transcendent authority to be able to have a firm materialistic natural frame with a complete liquidity.
Let’s set a comparison between the world of Nietzsche and that of dogmatic and classical philosophies, when the divine shadows were still linger across the world during the time of the dominance of humanism.
1-The classical world: is a world which its center is transcendent God (or the humanitarian absolute; the humanitarian essence). Human, in such world, (due to his relationship with God or his humanitarian essence) is independent from nature and different than animals, as he has a materialistic and spiritual side. Because of his difference than nature, human can realize, contemplate and surpass it. In addition, it is possible to set transcendent moral structures on which human can depend.
The main characteristics of this world is that God or the humanitarian essence is its transcendent center. Thus, there is a space separating between God and nature which is reflected in the world as a space between human and nature in a chain of dualities: matter/soul – direct action/thinking – good/evil –cause/effect – beautiful/ugly.
2-Nietzsche’s world: is the world in which God withdrew (or exists only in matter and dissolves in it, so the world becomes centerless). -Human, then, becomes a part of the matter/nature, as there is no essential difference between him and other natural creatures such as animals. He consists of a (physical) body and instincts. -He is a part of nature, so he cannot realize or surpass it, as the part cannot surround or surpass the aggregate- there are no moral structures that can surpass the matter’s motion.
The main feature of Nietzsche’s world is the escalation rate of the immanence which implies the disappearance of space between the Creator and His creatures, between human and nature. This also leads to the impossibility of reaching knowledge and morality. Thus, there will be no difference between body and soul, good and evil, and the direct action will be the only possible action. All dualities disappear, good and evil, human and nature, the constant and the changeable. Finally, a new world of a complete liquidity in the natural and humanitarian fields appears.
Due to the total disappearance of spaces, the world becomes centerless. Yet, identity itself disappears in such liquid world which has no boundaries or fixed beliefs. So, there will be no difference between ego and id, the sacred and the relative, the signifier and the signified. Finally, the post-modernist world appears.
In fact, Nietzsche has a distinctive approach compared to the former philosophers. With his immanent nihilism, he adopted a tragic futile nihilistic pessimistic lyricism, which is completely different from the optimistic lyricism of humanist odes. This pessimistic lyricism started when Nietzsche killed God (or abandoned him) and announced that he is the center of the universe and he is able to reform and exploit it with no limits, and when his modernist enlightening project started with a huge optimistic view with no shortcomings or gloomy feelings. Through a passage in his book The Gay Science entitled “Madman”, when the madman announces the death of God, he did it running in the market place and crying in pain: “Whither is God? I tell you. We have killed Him –you and I. All of us are his murderers“.
He also raises some questions to express his deep sadness due to the disappearance of God: How did we do that? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither are we moving now? Away from all sun? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down?
(The Gay Science, 125).
This is the ode of the one who found the dark enlightenment and realized that the post-modernist age and the complete deconstructivism are about to strike everyone.
1. Nietzsche’s Ontology:
Nietzsche announced the emergence of a world of liquidity in which the concept of a stable constant existence, the pillar of all religious or non-religious western philosophies, disappears. However, he attributed the whole universe to a principle which he called “life”, like Schopenhauer and other contemporary philosophers who adopted an organic metaphor in describing the universe. Yet, Nietzsche did not totally agree with Schopenhauer who believed that living organisms are driven by a primordial will to live. On the other hand, Nietzsche believed that existence is the life itself, while life is the will itself. Yet, will, for him, is the will to power and its sanctification. For Nietzsche, value is the biggest amount of power which man can attain and control. Accordingly, life could not last without beating another life, because life is an instinct for growth and not just for survival. It is an instinct for accumulation, and for inconstant change and becoming (Darwin’s splendid jungle). While life is an instinct for growth and accumulation, it needs something which is opposite to it and outside it to be achieved. This means that life is the will to seize others; a will to rob and exploit. So the more we feel alive and powerful (Life is synonymous with power), the more we realize the existence. The will to power is the essence of life and through it we can explain all the aspects of existence. Life, according to this, is only an instinct for struggle, fight and killing.
The will to power drives individuals, history, military conflicts, social and economic transformation, moral and aesthetic revolutions and relationships among individuals (including the closest and deepest one). In fact, all of them are conflicts which can only be understood in the frame of this infinite struggle among different wills which generate various forms of dominance. Through this, the will to power becomes the cornerstone of Nietzsche’s philosophy, and the ultimate authority and the constant ontological and moral pillar of a philosophical system which denies constancy and deeply believes in becoming by considering it the only fixed fact. This means that power is Nietzsche’s hidden metaphysics and the point of constancy, which replaces the idea of existence or reason, in the classical philosophy, and the idea of coincidence, in the natural/materialistic philosophies.
2. Cognitive System:
Thinking, according to Nietzsche is not a distorted reflection of reality or an attempt to explain it, it is an expression of the will to power. Nietzsche stated that there are principles for thinking and logic on which man-made standards depend to distinguish between the fake and real and the true and false (such as: self, subject, essence, total, object, causality ,cause and effect, appearance and content, teleology, the existence of a constant stable reality- the equality of similar things- measurability of objects). All these principles, according to his perspective, are not devoid of interest and bias, as it might appear at first sight. They are not totally materialistic but they are illusions, myths, beliefs and strategies invented to escape from the state of liquidity and becoming.
Hence, reason is an illusion, because it is not a noumenon (thing-in-itself) but a mere expression of conflicting elements in reality. It is just an epiphenomenon (a phenomenon accompanying another phenomena). Accordingly, there is no one human reason, but many reasons which differs according to the circumstances and wills. Therefore, one issue becomes controversial. There is no one reason which controls the universe so that phenomena and events be reasonable. The only reason that we know is this little reason inside human, while the thinking ego and the bounded constant self are illusions. In fact, there are many hidden motives which a person fails to recognize although they drive his conduct despite of all his apparent rationality.
In reality, there is a complete becoming, and there is no comprehensive perfect human reason, while logic is not the result of observing reality and realizing the similarity of cases. In addition, thinking is not the fruit of the pursuit of truth. Yet, why do the constant comprehensive ideas and the logic categories appear? Nietzsche believes that the reason of their appearance is that they are myths, illusions and beliefs useful for their advocates. Thus, adopting such ideas, for them, increases the chances of invasion, survival and control. On the other hand, those who reject such illusion and constantly deal with reality, considering that each phenomenon is unique, will perish. .That is how the concept of the constant essence appeared, as it is the cornerstone of logic but it has no origins in the materialistic objective reality.
Hence, Nietzsche took a decisive step by conferring relativism and cognitive liquidity upon everything; upon objective reality and realized self. Instead, he suggested the existence of a real origin (materialistic substructure model) which is the direct action, instinct and pure biological clinging to survival and power. Then, there is the thought (Intellectual superstructure model) which presents a justification for the thinker’s behaviors and instinct materialistic actions which is originated from his vitality and biological entity. Those actions are self-sustained like the atom, which moves with its inner power towards its target without considering anything outside it.
Accepting other’s thought just represents a surrender to the victorious power, as it is not a reason-based action. Thus, it only reflects the balance of power.
Knowledge and truth only represent the level of power success; their success to impose mean their reality (successful is real, while the loser is unreal). This thought which depends only on power is called by Nietzsche the “Dynosian truth” (a truth in which the superman believes); a truth which tries to escape from the attempt of interpretation and accepts one tragic final truth: the continuous becoming and infinite pluralism.
3. Ethical System:
Human is an integral part of nature/matter with no transcendent traits. He is totally self-sufficient; does not need any higher values and does not depend on another world surpassing the world of nature/matter. He is a human with no priori reason and no eternal constant soul which can leave his mortal body. However, there are ethical systems which do not differ from the cognitive ones, as ethics sink in relativity which swallows everything. As mankind depends on morals just to justify their actions, as actions are the origin, while morals are just for justification. In fact, values are just a part of human’s creativity. Hence, human can give any meaning to the universe by any way he decides. Meaning is connected to the goal and the goal is connected to the result and the action: It is a continuous organic chain with connected circles, and morals are man-made standards for a specific goal, and he can change them and set another goal for himself if he wills. In fact, morals are connected with the result and action; they are also a circle in this continuous chain (this is the essence of the pragmatic philosophy). In this frame, it is possible to understand Nietzsche’s non-transcendent moral structure. He initially rejected the distinction between good and evil because it requires the presence of fixed values, which can be invoked. This distinction is attributed to those religious morals, which neglect the natural values while Nietzsche decided to re-evaluate them; returning to their materialistic natural origin. Hence, he rejected all kinds of constancy or absolutism.
4. Masters and slaves (Master–slave morality):
Then, Nietzsche introduced his vision about the origin of civilization and morality. He stated that civilizations appeared when a group of privileged aristocrats, in the form of blond wild animals (Nietzsche’s famous blond beast), invaded Asia, Europe and Pacific Ocean peninsulas. Through this simple splendid animal Darwinian struggle, the Greek, Romanian and Germanic civilizations emerged and, then, flourished. This blond wild group (connected with nature) controls and belittles any nation under its rule and forms a special class, which adopts a moral and value approach that ensures its sovereignty and stability. In fact, this class guarantees stability, legitimacy and authority by maintaining its physical strength and health, as it is keen on all matters related to power, invasion, war, risk, hunting, dancing and sports and, in general all vital activities. This class is a minority, which works on to protect its pure traits from any deviation that may results from its contact with the dark nations or the lower classes. The deep idolatry immanent nature of this wild blond natural class appears in Nietzsche’s statement saying that they sanctify traditions and the past and regard their memories a source of pride and power. This means that they are self-centered following a self-reference. This self-centeredness indicates that their rituals require ancestors’ veneration and sacrificial offerings. This is to the extent that those ancestors become deities worshipped by the members of this wild class. The member of the aristocratic class, when worshipping his deities among his ancestors, sanctify his noble traits. This means that we reached an organic national land, where human is the slave, the deity and the temple, leading to the fetishism of the self and the appearance of the Third Reich (The Third Empire).
Through this concept, mankind is divided into strong and weak, and each one has an embedded judgment standards. Therefore, there are two types of morality: powerful masters’ morality, by which they justify their direct actions, and weak slaves’ morality, by which they try to hide their vulnerability and achieve survival. Masters have the potential to perform direct actions and they are proudly powerful and they also have the instinct for control, invasion and risk. They belittle mercy and enjoy victory, destruction and torturing others. They are a neutral impassive power (free from conscience, compassionate and mercy, they defeat the weak and rise above their ruin”). They also do not react to nothingness with any pessimistic feelings. This is because pessimism is an expectation of finding a meaning but without reaching it, while frustration is the desire to transcend and the failure to achieve it. Thus, masters do not feel pessimist because they expect nothing, as they are, in this regard, like natural elements.
Before tackling the morality of the weak, we should discuss first some good characters which Nietzsche attributed to masters. They form, according to some perspectives, a kind of sublimation and a frame for the emergence of a new modern philosophical structure. In fact, the aristocratic master abhors inferiority and all kinds of humiliation, and he mostly detests lying and other similar manners such as hypocrisy and flattering. He never accepts middle grounds. He tends to pardon others not because he loves sympathy but because his power is in his innate nature, so it is generous with others (like the flowing nature). However, he never accepts pardon from others because he can, through his power, take what he wants without waiting others’ deigning. In fact, he mostly depends on himself, restraints his whim and guides his actions.
Yet, do those traits really indicate a sublimation? We believe that there is no sublimation in the morals of the wild blond beasts. In fact, all the traits attributed to the aristocratic increase his sense of self-reference, so he never follows external standards. He is the absolute so he is above law. In addition, everything related to the aristocratic belongs to power. For example, his pardon does not mean that he loves his human brother or any external moral system (because the concept of fraternity is not natural or materialistic). Yet, his action is influenced by an instinct for power; nature, savagery and imperialism. For him, sympathy is not a free moral choice, but a natural biological behavior, a behavior beyond good and evil and has nothing to do with the concept of sublimation.
Moreover, masters are the minority, while slaves are the majority. Yet, slaves are not allowed to perform direct actions, so they consider their weakness “patience”, “charity” or “kindness”. They are peaceful, humble with no desire to achieve invasion or sovereignty. They name their dependence and their failure to achieve independence “mercy”. Every slave is in need for others as he is not self-sufficient. To hide their weakness and find a compensation, they invented these morals for the weak. In fact, their morals are just a result of malice and revenge: a lasting feeling from a previous humiliation which human experienced and could not face it or take revenge from that person due to his weakness to act immediately. Thus, his feelings are converted into an accumulated force, which express itself through indirect ways, and not through the main natural ways and reciprocity. Yet, adopting the morality of the weak twisted the plot, because the strong people, who are assigned to achieve prosperity for mankind, were forced to submit to the weak and neglect their duty to improve their skills and achieve the prosperity of mankind. Human history, in significant events, witnessed the triumph of the rational culture, which is the culture of the weak. For example, the Greek culture, before Socrates, was pessimistic and nihilistic. Then, Socrates marked the degeneracy of Greek morals, as the strength of the old body and soul was gradually neglected for the sake of a doubted rational culture. In fact, it includes a great degeneration in the strength of body and reason. Consequently, science excludes art, and reason excludes instinct, and the Apollonian spirit was victorious over the Dionysian spirit, which calls for the direct merge with the nature, before pure reason distorted it with constancy and stagnation. To resolve this situation, Nietzsche suggested to reattribute values and moral equations to their materialistic idolatrous natural origin. Accordingly, human should reject this familiar unnatural succession in good and evil and compassion and mercy. Instead, he should introduce the natural/materialistic succession in good and power and invasion and arrogance.
5. Superman and the political system:
Nietzsche’s philosophy negates all the dualities, denies the presence of the center and announces the appearance of a world in a state of motion and liquidity. However, it identified a point of stability which is the will to power that was embodied by a minority of powerful masters, but the masters themselves were overwhelmed by liquidity and becoming. In fact, they are just a mean for a higher purpose; a stretched rope between animals and the superman who is the ultimate goal of existence, the counterpart of God, the earthly manifestation of God or the God alive in history, who is manifested through a group of mankind.
Nietzsche believes that individuals’ happiness and pains are trivial matters, which must be neglected when speaking about the superman and the future of mankind. In fact, the goal of human existence must not be the pursuit of happiness for individuals, but the maximization of all the efforts to raise humanity at the top of the evolutionary ladder and achieve all vital potentials. Accordingly, it is expected from human to achieve what exceeds human, and all mankind were only created to be his ladder.
It seems that Nietzsche initially determined his goal which states that all mankind will produce the superman. But, it seems that only the noble class is the nominated to produce him. And the most important mechanism to produce the superman is the action of the aristocratic minority (master) to discard religions that neglect the earthly life (nature/matter), directing mankind’s attention towards images and delusions of another world life, stealing from them the elements of power and leave them in a state of weakness and humiliation. As Marx introduced an image of a new communist society by considering it an echo of the primitive communist society (the end must be similar to the beginning inside the organic circular patterns), Nietzsche believed that the noble class should regain its past glory when the groups of wild blond beasts were living alone according to the natural laws. So, the superman, this human/God, is just a natural human, an absolute natural and an absolute materialistic human, who incarnates the power will. In particular, he is the wild blond western materialistic natural human; the insatiable man of Europe, who devoured the world, during the western imperialist era, exterminated people and destroyed the universe.
Moreover, such superman was not created to live in laziness, peace and tranquility. His duty is to grow, fulfill his potentials and achieve evolution without the need of self-pity or other’s mercy. He will achieve his evolution through natural selection by surpassing good and evil. At the same time, he is a part of the ultimate purpose; improving mankind (who actually is the blond western man). The superman is somehow resembles the queen bee which has a devoted worker bee (weak and slaves), but has no independent will. Through instrumentalization, it becomes like worker bee. In fact, bee world is a flawless incredible accurate self-acting world, which has no values surpassing the universal circle or designed program. The work, in such world, is done for the sake of an abstract purpose, which is called life, nature or the current natural machine (or the firmly controlled Nazi society or the secular society). Such superman, surpassing matter and morals, is an integral part of a geometric pattern. Furthermore, Nietzsche called for the improvement of offspring and evolution of the superman. This means that the queen bee example was not apart from his thought. Obviously, death of God, liquidity of reality and immorality lead to the death of human, because he loses his absolutism (sacredness) and special position; becoming something like anything else. If there is a distinctiveness, it is that of the queen bee, beautiful and incredible, but without any will because it is a mere natural/ materialistic insect. For example, Napoleon incarnates the superman idea. He was a man with a dead conscience who proved that we can do what we wish and control our will. He also represents the deep contradiction between freedom and morality, as Napoleon was “beyond good and evil” (and this is a severe attack on Kant’s enlightened categories about humanity and morality).
It seems that there is a counterpart for the superman, which is the upper state. Nietzsche believed that the state is an expression of the will to power and is the institution in charge of power distribution, which represents the followed political standard. Such state is powerful enough to control the whole world and its citizens is the world’s masters. Nietzsche also stated that if the German organizing ability is united with the Russian materialistic and manpower sources, and if the Germanic and Slavic man are united and supported by the Jewish sponsors, this ally will guarantee sovereignty and dominance.
Now, we can hear the organic nation voice (the folk), Hitler and the (German) concept of Lebensraum and we can also observe the seeds of Nazi medical ethics which caused a genocide. For example, being influenced by Nietzsche’s secular and conflicting philosophy and his Darwinian hypothesis, Nazis established their state which tried to guide and instrumentalize the whole world (nature and human); turning it to a matter subjected to materialistic and quantitative paradigms which are beneficial for the Aryans. They adopted concepts such as: power will, superman, values re-evaluation, offspring improvement, murder and stoning. The name of the famous Nazi documentary about Hitler, produced in 1942, entitled Triumph of the Will seems to be symbolic.
6. Eternal Recurrence:
The superman is beyond good and evil, reward and punishment. As an alternative for all these concepts, Nietzsche presented his pivotal notion “the eternal recurrence”. It represents Nietzsche’s attempt to realize the continuity in the recurring motion, constancy and becoming, as all are subjected to the law of motion. Thus, the time was re-defined and (the idea of) eternal recurrence appeared. The current cycle of time will end, but time has no end, and a new cycle, which does not differ from the previous one will start, and so on. It is a stable mechanic materialistic eternal recurrence. In fact, human, like the sand hour, will eternally recur and die, as it is an eternal repetition of the same steps and the same life. Perhaps, the eternal recurrence replaces the idea of eternity and the day of resurrection in the revealed religions. For Nietzsche, it is a solution for the dilemma of death; a solution which eliminates the shadow of God and the Divine origins of human.
Eternal recurrence means to repeat the moment with all its constancy and becoming, without accepting the concept of the constant moment but by affirming its becoming. This reminds us Derrida’s concept of “Difference” (La difference), in which all things are different and suspended which is about to be achieved but never be achieved. Through this, the dilemma of the self, subject, constancy and motion is resolved. In this regard, Goethe’s demand from the moment to “stay forever” indicates his desire to achieve the eternal constancy in the world of becoming. On the other hand, Nietzsche’s demand from the moment to “repeat yourself forever” indicates a complete surrender to the becoming and the tragic awareness of a hopeless future (as adopted by Kant, Hegel and Marx and other afterlife Christian ideas). Yet, the same existence/becoming will always repeat itself, and what will replace my life is the same life again. In another word, the current life is all what exist with no hope to exit even in another next cosmic cycle. In addition, this refutes the idea of goal, because repetition represents constancy. The peaceful acceptance of the eternal recurrence is out of the love of fate (Latin: amor fati) which refers to a complete acceptance of the limits of our immanent world, a total surrender to its non- humanitarian laws, by considering them the ultimate absolute limits of all existence, and a realization that the Dionysian world is a liquid world which infinitely create, destroy and repeat itself following the same way. A meaningless world, which moves in a futile circular movement. According to Nietzsche, through the love of fate, the surrender of the limits and the acceptance of the futile cycles, human can liberate himself from religions with their transcendent purpose, and even from the illusions of the humanist thought, which tries to achieve transcendence inside immanence. In another word, human will set himself completely free from morals, dreams, future, metaphysics and truth. Thus, the burden of becoming turns to be a source of happiness and delight. This is because accepting the idea of eternal recurrence is an affirmation that human inevitably exists in the world of becoming.
7. Philosophy of Language and Art:
Nietzsche transfers his philosophy to the language and art. According to the world of language, Nietzsche believes that the relationship between the signifier and the signified, in a world of a complete liquidity, is broken. For example, the word “soul” refers (in the classical philosophies) to everything surpassing the world of the physical body and matter, which requires a space between the soul and body. Nietzsche affirms that, and through his materialistic vision states that the soul in reality refers to the body, and the body “is just” an arrangement of some natural powers and the manifestation of the will to power. In fact, the classical signifier, here, completely losses his relationship with its signified and gained from Nietzsche’s philosophy a new signified.
In fact, Nietzsche is one of the first philosopher to doubt the objectivity of any text. For him, the truth is just an army of old stable metaphors, and the classical vision is broken by the duality of the text and truth. In reality the text is just a texture revealing a part of the truth and hiding the other part. Thus, the duty of the commentator is to reach the intended meaning. In fact, Nietzsche removed the space between the text and the truth and totally negated this duality, claiming that the text is really a texture, but the texture is the truth itself, and the creative self is a part of this texture, like the spider in his web (This meaning is conveyed through the famous statement of Derrida “Nothing is beyond the text“). Nietzsche did not only remove the space between the creator, text and truth, but removed the space between different texts. He announced the idea of intertextuality by considering it an infinite dialogue between texts, as all what we know is the text and the text does not convey a truth surpassing it but it conveys another text. Therefore our knowledge cannot claim to itself a more stable and solid state than to be a text. This means that all boundaries disappear between the self and the subject, the inward and outward, the meaning and meaningless, knowledge and opinion and the truth and the untruth. That’s why Nietzsche claimed that there is no innocent pure original text. Such text has not existed in the first place or it is lost forever. And all what we read is just interpretations or sayings quoted from another texts. Interpretation, here, does not refer to independent reasoning; when the reader claims that there is a relationship of connection and separation between the signifier and the signified and this relationship is not simple, direct and mathematical but a complex one (due to the nature of language as a complex tool to communicate which depends on metaphor). The reader here should work hard to understand the complex relationship between the signifier and the signified and convey the meaning of the text; a meaning which is not absolute, real or final but a testable near-truth meaning. This is the real meaning of independent reasoning. According to Nietzsche, reading is not searching for the meaning of the text but it is the importation of an external meaning to impose it on the text. by separating the signifier from the signified or connecting them together, the text has no meaning in itself. Thus, there is no meaning except what is imposed by the power will, according to the Nietzsche’s system. According to one of the critics, interpretation, for Nietzsche, is a method, which helps human to become a master, and the critic becomes an invader; a wild bond beast expressing an imperialist secular literary cognitive vision and impose any internal vision.
Thus, the commentator imposes his interpretation on the text. On the other hand, we, through Nietzsche’s conflicting world, discover that the opposite also is right. The art is the tool of the Superman to eliminate the space between him and nature; to be attached to it to express its genuine image before being distorted by the reason. In other words, art expresses the overwhelming physical Dionysian trend, which is motivated with a savage delight before the emergence of the reason-based Apollonian trend which is characterized by self-control, consistency, harmony, and the desire for a reason-based interpretation of the universe. Through this, art is beyond good and evil and beyond any interpretation, as it represents life in terms of conflicting powers and also represents masters’ morality, which can change the world and spread good tidings of a new world.
To understand the world Nietzsche uses an aesthetic paradigm that holds a special meaning he determined: “as the world has neither a surpassing reason nor a rational embedded reason, so it is its reason, such as the artistic work which is self- generating (according to a disgusting organic statement explaining Nietzsche’s materialistic nihilism: The world’s feces is its food. That’s how the first matter creating the universe was transformed into feces by the philosopher of nihilism. This metaphor has also been used by Artaud and Derrida.). This means that the world is organized and coherent, but its organization and coherence is like that of the artistic work. This means that it is a temporal system that is similar to that poet’s style in writing a short poem; a system, which does not reflect any reality, but reflects the poet’s sentiments and will. And if reality is like the artistic work which is full of man-made metaphors, so it is an illusion and expression of the will to power. This indicates that there is no reality, but points of view following the liquid reality. If the reality is liquid and fake, the self will be similar, because human is like the artist in inventing himself, as there is no fixed self. In fact, self is self-invented, and self is an expression of the will to power and the dark motives.
Accordingly, Nietzsche saw that philosophy and rhetoric are similar. In fact, the classical philosophy claims the attempt of the awakened reason to reach the fixed truth. By the absence of the coherent self and fixed truth, the philosophical discourse is an expression of the attempt of the commentator philosopher to impose his will on reality/text through his skills and different rhetoric styles. Therefore, philosophical text analysis is not at all different from literal text analysis, as all of them is an expression of the will to power.
In fact, Nietzsche’s world is totally immanent and monist in which the center becomes inside the matter then disappeared. It is a Godless immanent world which does not differ, in its simplicity and triviality, from the earlier idolatry immanentism claiming that worshipping does not aim to achieve human transcendence but to unite with nature and to achieve cosmic monism. In other words, Nietzsche’s philosophy (like earlier idolatory immanentism) represents human’s embedded desire to flee from the burden of identity to enter inside the might cosmic womb. Instead of searching for stars, he dives into the mud. Thus, we find a human with no humanity, morality with no morals and knowledge with no cognitive content. Is it possible to have humanity, knowledge, morals with no limitations or transcendence? This is a valueless value, as power is the jungle’s law and not the human’s one, and survival is not a moral value but a biological one. Nevertheless, Nietzsche’s immanence is more radical compared to the earlier idolatry immanentism. The latter was revolving around a materialistic absolute, while in Nietzsche’s world, the center has completely disappeared and the world is dominated with a vital energy which has no direction, system, purpose or structure, which is similar to the belief in the existence of flying saucers or hidden powers in the universe which moves but its movement does not guide us to the right path. It is an absolute faith which cannot depend on to build moral systems. It can be only regarded as a nice psychological experience or a horrible one.
In conclusion, Spinoza, Nietzsche and Derrida are the most significant secular materialistic philosopher. In addition, most of western philosophy appeared in the twentieth (20th) century (including Zionism and Nazism), were influenced by Nietzsche and the post-modernist thought (with all its currents) is an expansion of Nietzsche’s philosophical system. In fact, many Jewish intellectuals among Zionists and non-Zionists were influenced by Nietzsche.
Rehab Jamal Bakri***
* A Research prepared by A. Prof. Dr.Abdel Wahab El-Messiri to be presented to the conference: “الفلسفة في الفكر الإسلامي: قراءة منهجية ومعرفية” (Philosophy in Islamic Thought: A Methodological and Cognitive Reflection) organized by the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Amman/Jordan in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture in Jordan and the University of Jordan, on October 29-30, 2008. Yet, Dr. El-Messiri, may Allah shower him with His Mercy, passed away -before the conference.
The research is published in the Journal of Al-Muslim Al-Muassir (The Contemporary Muslim), V. 151, 2014, pp. 173-287.
مجلة المسلم المعاصر. ع. 151، 2014. ص ص 173- 28.
** Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Faculty of Girls, Ain Shams University.
Dr. El-Messiri has worked a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Ain Shams University and several Arab and Islamic universities. To learn more about the author, please visit the website: www.elmessiri.com.
*** Egyptian Researcher and Translator.