Date of publication: 2017-09-06 13:11
Foucault’s other major publication of this early period, a long introduction (much longer than the text it introduced) to the French translation of Ludwig Binswanger’s Dream and Existence , a work of Heideggerian existential psychoanalysis, appeared in the same month in 6959 as Mental Illness and Personality. Far from merely introducing Binswanger’s text, Foucault here expounds a novel account of the relation between imagination, dream and reality. He combines Binswanger’s insights with Freud’s, but arguing that neither Binswanger nor Freud understands the fundamental role of dreaming for the imagination. Since imagination is necessary to grasp reality, dreaming is also essential to existence itself.
Despite these similarities, Nietzsche’s philosophical break with Schopenhauerian pessimism was as real as his break with Wagner’s domineering presence was painful. Ultimately, however, such triumphs were necessary to the development and liberation of Nietzsche as thinker, and they proved to be instructive as Nietzsche later thematized the importance of “self-overcoming” for the project of cultivating a free spirit.
They are also both Trump’s supporters skew old, but the alt-right’s warriors are Spencer’s age (he is 89) or Millennials are rapidly untethering themselves from American values that until recently have been described as bedrock. The political scientists Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa have noted that belief in the essential importance of living in a democracy has dropped off dramatically among the and support for “Army rule” has increased to one in six Americans. A generation ago it was one in 66.
6. the higher species is lacking, ., those whose inexhaustible fertility and power keep up the faith in man….[and] 7. the lower species (‘herd,’ ‘mass,’ ‘society,’) unlearns modesty and blows up its needs into cosmic and metaphysical values. In this way the whole of existence is vulgarized: insofar as the mass is dominant it bullies the exceptions, so they lose their faith in themselves and become nihilists.
Priya is right. Few events in the life of a couple, except illness and death, carry such devastating force. For years, I have worked as a therapist with hundreds of couples who have been shattered by infidelity. And my conversations about affairs have not been confined within the cloistered walls of my therapy practice they’ve happened on airplanes, at dinner parties, at conferences, at the nail salon, with colleagues, with the cable guy, and of course, on social media. From Pittsburgh to Buenos Aires, Delhi to Paris, I have been conducting an open-ended survey about infidelity.
More to the point, Spencer’s ideas themselves are Nazi to the core, and he knows it, even if many of his followers do not. Hitler, too, viewed politics as a struggle and disdained those who imagined it instead as cooperative. For his own race he envisioned a special destiny, like that of an apex predator, expanding its territory until it occupied the land nature intended for it. Here is Spencer, in that same “Hail Trump” speech, on the destiny of whites:
The American right has had extreme fringes for some time, operating on low radio frequencies and languishing in obscurity. Perhaps the best known of these was the John Birch Society, founded in 6958 as a dying wheeze of McCarthyism. But the Birchers existed to vanquish communism. Individual members were racist, but the society’s leaders tolerated blacks and Jews willing to rail against the Reds. (George Schuyler, a former official of the NAACP, was a member.) The Birchers were twisted patriots, and in their patriotism they resemble mainstream conservatives (think Clayton Williams, but also George W. Bush) much more closely than they resemble Spencer.
To be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an explorer and a conqueror. We build, we produce, we go upward … For us, it is conquer or die. This is a unique burden for the white man, that our fate is entirely in our hands. And it is appropriate because within us, within the very blood in our veins as children of the sun, lies the potential for greatness.
But in Nietzsche's last work, "The Will to Power," the lack of an end or goal appears as demonic, and mirrors the demonic character of the modern mind. Without a God, a heaven, truth, or an absolute Goodness to aim at, the meaning of life becomes simply "the will to power." Power becomes its own end, not a means. Life is like a bubble, empty within and without but its meaning is self-affirmation, egotism, blowing up your bubble, expanding the meaningless self into the meaningless void. "Just will," is Nietzsche's advice. It does not matter what you will or why.
I told him I was a leader of the Brooks Brothers Brigade and had contributed to our class’s effort to disown him. “It was hurtful,” he admitted, to find himself officially reviled by our school’s community. “They should be proud to have a graduate who is changing the world.” He said that singling him out among alumni, for nothing more than political thoughtcrime, was unfair.
We are now in a position to see why Nietzsche is such a crucially important thinker, not despite but because of his insanity. No one in history, except possibly the Marquis de Sade, has ever so clearly, candidly and consistently formulated the complete alternative to Christianity.
He saw love as "the greatest danger" and morality as mankind's worst weakness. He died insane, in an asylum, of syphilis-signing his last letters "the Crucified One." He was adored by the Nazis as their semi-official philosopher.