"What is called love in all the languages and silences of the world": Nietzsche, genealogy, contingency.
amado, lo que en verdad se amaba, cuando se amaba, es verdad.
Es la verdad, aunque no este enteramente realizada y a salvo.
On the other hand, deception is illusory, for what you
loved, what you truly loved was -- at the time you loved
it -- true. It was and it still is true, it is the truth, although
it may not be entirely realized and secure.
"I Love You"
"I love you": Hardly any other sentence is such a common, ordinary, communicative sentence, hardly any other is so vulnerable to misunderstanding, to the breakdown of communication and the eruption of the unusual. It is as though the dialectic of commonness consisted in the fact that the common becomes more and more unusual and alien the more it resembles itself. It is precisely the commonness of this sentence that makes it seem so reassuring, as if one needed to be reassured of love by the most common, most intelligible, and most secure of all sentences. Scarcely uttered, "I love you" comes dangerously close to its very opposite, creating the distance of insecurity which exposes the common and the generally intelligible to the particular and the unsecured -- to contingency. Is the fact that love requires -- verbal -- expression not in itself already a sign of lack? Shouldn't language supplement, replace, inventing missing love or weak love, shouldn't it deceive us about weakness and lack? In this view, language itself and not the sentence "I love you" is the commonness that arouses suspicion. "I love you" is a sentence that can produce rejection and estrangement ("Why do you say that? Is love not merely an illusion?"): because of its nonidentity, its dissimilarity from itself, idiosyncrasy is inherent in it. Conversely, however, the claim could also be made that the common, that language and the sentence "I love you," are necessary to protect love from being confused with a different feeling or from the danger of doubt. It could even be argued that the shielding of love from the commonness of language, its elevation and exaltation above everything common, actually increases the suspicion of it -- that is why one has to say "I love you." If the irreconcilable possibilities, of understanding or misunderstanding the sentence "I love you," cannot be reduced to a third possibility -- this difficulty produces the space of idiosyncrasy -- then the fundamental equivalence (still always destabilized by contradiction) of these possibilities suggests that the commonness of language especially evident in the sentence "I love you" leads to scarcity, isolation, and loneliness -- just what has always already made love succumb to loss or accident, to contingency. It is impossible to speak of love without taking this contingency into account, since there is no love beyond contingency.
Economy of Linguistic Generality and Commonness
In section 268 of Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche strives for a linguistically-oriented genealogy of "commonness," elaborating on the reflections made in his earlier essay, "On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense." The origin and genesis of "commonness" are said to be inseparable from the development of language. In the early essay, the physiological basis of language implies that its emergence is dependent upon the transformation of a nerve impulse into an image which in turn dissolves into a concept. In Beyond Good and Evil, the "Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future," it is claimed that concepts are "more or less definite image signs for often recurring and associated sensations, for groups of sensations" 1966, 216; 1981, 2:740).(1) What is crucial in both cases is the fact that conceptual language endows the nerve impulse or the sensation (on which it is ultimately based) with the recognizability that makes it available. But while in "On Truth and Lies" Nietzsche emphasizes the transience of the "vivid world of first impressions," to which the conceptual world opposes "the more solid, more universal, better known" (1979, 84f.; 1981, 3:315), this aspect of the transient and ephemeral is not foregrounded in the paragraph under consideration Beyond Good and Evil, but rather the regularity with which the sensations themselves recur: it is only their repetition, their repeated appearance and coincidence, their recurring configuration, that enables the conceptual identification which then produces the common as such, as an entity made available in its recognizability. Language is, therefore, both the consequence of a frequent recurrence of experiences and the mechanism facilitating the identification and availability of these experiences. In language, one understands the recurring clusters of experience and so makes oneself understood -- by way of and because of recurrence. Nietzsche calls the history of language a "process of abbreviation," effecting an ever more rapid circulation which requires that "an equal number of often recurring experiences has come to be predominant over experiences that come more rarely" (1966, 216; 1981, 2:741). As "communicability," as the use of at first similar and then identical signs of recognizable needs or experiences, language is the economy of an economy of the common; it is the economy of the common and the common economy as such. Any teleology of communication, any progressive thinking that follows the (regulative) idea of integral and transparent communication could be viewed in light of such a "process of abbreviation" and be described as the absolutization of economy. Societal reality excludes that which is "more difficult to understand"; the ideality of a philosophical discourse excludes that which is deemed unnecessary, even dangerous, under the primacy of the unity of communicative rationality, because it is ungrounded or ungroundable.
Water in the River Bed
At that point, where the production of common generality is at stake, Nietzsche seems to waver; his arguments invite at least two opposing conclusions. On the one hand, it must be assumed that the use of a common language, the use of "the same words" is, in and of itself, not sufficient for communication: "in the end one has to have one's experience in common." Nietzsche calls the unity that results from such a having-in-common "a people" [Volk]. (Formulated more abstractly, using contemporary terminology, one could speak of a "conceptual scheme.") On the other hand, however, it could be assumed that communicability and its economy lead to "the experience of merely average and common experiences" and in this sense, in the sense of a coming together out of need or danger, communicability and its economy are the "most powerful of all the powers at whose disposal man has been so far" (1966, 216-17; 1981, 2:741). For Nietzsche, need is determinant, but the question still remains whether, stemming from this need, language determines the common, or the common determines language. One might sublate this alternative dialectically. One might also recall the notion of a language game, which emerged later on in philosophical history: the usage that facilitates familiarity with the common presupposes no objectively verifiable or purely subjective knowledge the object of which is a sensation. In his notes on certainty, Wittgenstein at one point approximates a linguistic theory inspired by Nietzsche: "The mythology may change back into a state of flux, the river-bed of thoughts may shift. But I distinguish between the movement of the waters on the river-bed and the shift of the bed itself; though there is not a sharp division of the one from the other" (1969, 15). No matter how one reads Nietzsche's linguistic theory, it must be emphasized that the genealogy of linguistic economy puts the common -- the "similar, ordinary, average, herd-like" which cannot be detached from the communicability of language -- to the test. By uncovering the uncommon origin of the common, the genealogist exposes the common precisely to that dangerous experience that he identifies with the experience of "friendship" and "love." The genesis of language as genesis of the generally common depends immediately on the experience of danger to which one is exposed; the greater the danger to be faced the more promising the success of the redemptive "process of abbreviation." Danger and rescue are proportionate to one another, which is why there can be no security - no language, no common generality - that does not bear traces of the gravest danger, the traces of isolation and loneliness, of misunderstanding and speechlessness:
Not misunderstanding one another in times of danger
is what human beings simply cannot do without in their
relations. In every friendship or love affair one still
makes this test: nothing of that sort can endure once
one discovers that one's partner associates different
feelings, intentions, nuances, desires, and fears with
the same words. Fear of the "eternal misunderstanding"
-- that is the benevolent genius which so often
keeps persons of different sex from rash attachments
to which their senses and hearts prompt them -- this
and not some Schopenhauerian "genius of the species"!)
(1966, 217; 1981, 2:741). Since language -- as a means of communication and of understanding -- originates in danger and need, exposing it to danger is sufficient to uncover its origin, that is, the difference of the uncommon originally constitutive of the common. Language does not house a metaphysics of lasting commonness; it is already -- continuing the views expressed in Twilight of the Idols -- that "crude fetishism," that metaphysics which Nietzsche calls by its (German) name: the "basic presuppositions of the metaphysics of language, in German, of Vernunft, reason," consist in the prejudice that forces us to posit "unity, identity, permanence" and to subordinate becoming to these concepts (1963, 482f; 1981, 2:959). Of course, one must not furnish the belief in endurance with a univocal and consequently uniform, identical, and enduring sense. In Daybreak we read:
The institution of marriage obstinately maintains the
belief that love, though a passion, is yet capable of
endurance; indeed, that enduring lifelong love can be
established as the rule. [...] All institutions which accord
to a passion belief in its endurance and responsibility
for its endurance, contrary to the nature of passion,
have raised it to a new rank: and thereafter he who is
assailed by such a passion no longer believes himself
debased or endangered by it, as he formerly did, but
enhanced in his own eyes and those of his equals.
[...] This transformation has each time introduced a
very great deal of hypocrisy and lying into the world:
but each time too, and at his cost, it has introduced a
new superhuman concept which elevates mankind.
(1982, 21-22; 1981, 1:1033; second emphasis added) Just as love is a dangerous passion which resists endurance or tests endurance in order to be at the same time attracted and "transformed" by the belief in endurance -- Nietzsche points out this ambiguous pliancy of love in the quoted aphorism: time and again in his writings, he directs the view towards the "elevating," idealizing, transfiguring, creating, future-revealing function which love itself fulfills -- so too language, the generally common, is divided by understanding and misunderstanding, by the capacity to be abbreviated and endless detour.
Genesis and Validity
The genealogist does not merely erase validity in favor of genesis, but rather faces the irreconcilable, unappeasable, unsublatable conflict which time and again opposes genesis and validity, rendering them exposed, incomplete concepts in themselves. Each genealogically examined concept -- each concept examined under the aspect of its genesis and its validity (and genesis and validity are themselves concepts which beg for genealogical investigation) -- must thus be regarded "as consequence, as symptom, as mask, as tartufferie, as illness, as misunderstanding," but also "as remedy, as stimulant, as restraint, as poison" (1968, 456; 1981, 2:768). The real danger -- of love, of friendship, and of the genealogical method -- may consist in the fact that validity disappears in genesis and genesis in validity. Does not the irreducible asymmetry between the two equal possibilities of understanding or misunderstanding the sentence "I love you" translate that conflict, that polemic, that dangerous dispute between genesis and validity? Equating the declaration of love with a mere assurance tends to reduce its validity to its genesis, rather than tolerating the latter's difference; conversely, the insistence on the validity of the sentence "I love you" at least tends to undo its genetic contamination.
Following the logic of Nietzsche's argument, the danger that resides in the common as such is not an extraordinary danger, not a danger to which the common is exposed only externally and only in extraordinary cases. It is not a danger that the common is more or less capable of excluding and controlling. If the experience of friendship and love can endanger the validity of the common, its stability is invariably extremely precarious. Nietzsche underlines this by pointing to what is common to, and in, both experiences: no matter how secure common understanding and common communication may seem, no matter how immune to misunderstanding and accidents they appear, danger threatens "even any friendship or love affair." The "even any" can have a double meaning, namely, the commonness of experience itself and an outlasting of what is veiled by commonness. Here the paradox takes shape. Precisely because commonness contains an unavoidable and irreducible alterity -- a becoming lonely and isolated, rare and strange -- which it cannot appropriate itself, nothing is more common than this very alterity. Love and friendship are the common experiences which uproot the common. More generally speaking (one must not forget that the condition of possibility for expressing something in a more generally common way is language as a common medium of generality and of ideality, and thus that the genealogical investigation of commonness is built upon nothing but generality, on which philosophical discourse depends as well) genesis and validity do not form a pure or dialectical opposition -- they cannot be sublated into a higher conceptual unity -- but rather affect each other mutually, without effecting a unity: the contingency of genealogy. Thus Nietzsche can identify and name friendship and love as those experiences which present "similar conditions" of danger to those who, as a rule, close themselves off from what is "more difficult to understand." (Is a danger that occurs under "similar conditions" still a danger? Is, on the other hand, an unconditionally occurring danger a danger at all?) If genesis and validity affect each other mutually and do not dissolve into a unity, then nothing is more dangerous than the common -- commonness always endangers itself, because alterity is common and essential to it. On the other hand, the exposition of the common requires "monstrous counterforces," and precisely for the same reason: because alterity is common and essential to it (the counter-forces of isolation, of course, do not seek to relapse into absolute misunderstanding and the complete absence of any possibility of communication; perhaps the "more difficult to understand" is particularly resistant to the danger of such a relapse because it does not submit to a "process of abbreviation," which results immediately from danger and which tries to expel it, suddenly, through selection and exclusion). Insofar as validity does and must lay claim to the generally common in order to constitute itself as such (there is no radically particular claim to validity; it could not be communicated as such and is thus unthinkable), the genealogy of the common turns out to be the genealogy of validity. The genealogical process does not consist in confronting validity with the genesis of that which by claiming to have validity inevitably implies a certain common generality; rather it consists in exposing the conceptually unresolvable undecidability that resides in the relation between genesis and validity, simultaneously generating and erasing generality. Love and friendship are experiences of the most common as the most monstrous. Given over to the progressus in simile of the prejudices and simplifications of philosophical history, one could assume that Nietzsche is a spokesman for exception, discriminating against the common. His genealogy of the common demonstrates, however, how difficult it is to identify the common and the exception: love and friendship are neither common-ordinary nor extra-ordinary experiences. Thus it becomes apparent that contingency inheres in them. What results from the analysis of the declaration of love, namely that there may not be any love beyond contingency, is confirmed by Nietzsche's genealogy.
Could it not be claimed, at this point, that Nietzsche's different evaluations of love are by no means due only to the fragmentary and aphoristic character of his work, but also to the peculiar and inexhaustibly fertile matrix with which the paradox of genesis and validity may be signified? Is this paradox, in the end, one -- unsecured -- reason for that fragmentary and aphoristic character? On the one hand, Nietzsche does not grow tired of demystifying love's quest for validity. This demystification occurs both in the name of love's essence and of its function: it occurs in the name of its general function in the orbit of the living and in the name of a special religion-founding knowledge about its essence, and it occurs in the name of its gender-specific paralysis of -- artistic -- creation and in the name of its no less gender-specific suitability as a triumphant weapon. Love wields a "power of illusion" and is conducive to the state in which man, under its influence, "sees things most decidedly as they are not," and in the end loses sight of life itself (1963, 591; 1981, 2:1183). Jesus seeks death because he knows about love: his life is, according to Nietzsche,
the story of a poor fellow, unsated and insatiable in
love [...], who finally, having gained knowledge about
human love, had to invent a god who is all love, all
ability to love -- who has mercy on human love because
it is so utterly wretched and unknowing (1966, 220;
1981, 2:744). The artist is to be endangered by "woman" ["Weib"], "woman" is to be his danger, the danger to which he remains exposed as an artist: in female love Nietzsche sees only a "finer parasitism," which always occurs "at the expense of |the host,'" since it consists in a fixating attachment to the other; love "as an instrument of war" finally proves to be a tool of "woman," with or through which she asserts her primacy in the "eternal war" of the sexes (1968, 723; 1981, 2:1105f.). Thus Nietzsche demystifies love's claim to validity by revealing its true origin, the truth about its essence and function. On the other hand, however, he emphasizes its validity precisely in the name of its function and its essence. Love cannot be held fast or fixed; its truth or untruth cannot be measured by identificatory determinability, by the common generality of identification, because love cannot be reduced either to its genesis or to its validity. It can neither be generalized and made valid as love, nor does it disappear in the difference which disavows its common generality and its claim to validity. In its function, love is not only a fixing of the creative artist, but also an active increase in life, a -- sexually marked and physiologically motivated-creation, if one endows creation with the desire for perfection, more precisely, a desire for the beauty of what is not perfect in itself, but only becomes perfect because it requires such a desire for perfection. In a fragment entitled "On the Genesis of Art," Nietzsche writes: "The demand for art and beauty is an indirect demand for the ecstasies of sexuality communicated to the cerebrum. The world become perfect, through |love' -- " (1968a, 424; 1981, 3:870). The quotation marks around the word "love" may point to its physiological origin, to the fact that love and the desire for perfection refer to sexual powers which "overcharge" the "cerebral system" (a genetic explanation which must clash with the remark that "for two lovers in the whole and strong sense of the word" sexual gratification is "nothing essential and basically a mere symbol" [1968a, 388; 1981, 3:922]). Whatever is meant by "love," Nietzsche's fragment on the genesis of art leaves no doubt about its stimulating power. In the second "Untimely Meditation" he suggests that man creates "only in love," only "when overshadowed by the illusion of love," only "in the unconditional belief in perfection" (1981, 1:252). The power of love lies in its transfiguring effect. What is transfigured, according to Nietzsche, are the "tiniest coincidences." That there is no love beyond contingency means, then, three different things: it means that love exposes the generally common to contingency, that contingency is inherent in love, and that love adheres to contingency. The only reason we can speak of a desire for perfection and beauty, even of perfection and beauty as such, is because there is contingency and because there is no love beyond contingency. In the essence of love, Nietzsche discovers not only a constitutive lack that perpetuates the ever disillusioned desire for love and offers a substitute in its place, but also a "wanting more" that underwrites the title of "great love": "All great love does not want love: it wants more," teaches Zarathustra (1963, 405; 1981, 2:529). Where it is "great love," where it can most be considered love, there love does not fold back onto itself. It does not simply seek love, it wants something different from and more than what it itself is; its essence therefore consists in not resting in itself and having an essence which could be held fast or fixed as such. If one could love, would love then strive for its perfect reciprocation and in the end be exactly requited? If one could love, would love settle down and rest in itself If one could love, would love be itself? If "to this very day" the "love story" has captured our interest, this is not due merely to a "secretiveness of the church in all things erotic," which must remain incomprehensible from the perspective of antiquity (1982, 45; 1981, 1:1062f.). Love must be narrated, because it is not simply itself. There is no strict boundary between love and the love story; on the contrary, narratability is inscribed into love (in it not being simply itself Love itself generates its own fiction and is nothing other than its story.
To summarize: if one says that love is not love, one maintains, on the one hand, that its claim to validity is affected by an irreconcilable difference -- validity is not congruent with itself; its common generality is endangered, because its genesis does not coincide with it -- and on the other hand, one maintains that its validity depends precisely on this essential not-being-itself and that love can be considered love only insofar as it is not simply itself. Ultimately, it is the unattainable possibility of this ambiguous and contradictory assertion that justifies mentioning the not-being-itself of love. Love demonstrates that one must not confuse not-self-identity with the opposition between a non-unity and a unity -- between a non-unity produced by recurring to the genesis of validity, and a unity resulting from the irreducibility of validity to genesis. On the contrary, non-unity -- genesis, descent, origin, which prevents identification -- is not simply itself and is consequently exposed to unity -- validity, common generality, identification -- while unity is exposed to non-unity and therefore is not simply itself either. How can this self-exposure and not-being-itself of love be specified? Or put differently: how does the paradox of genealogy, the paradoxical relation of genesis and validity, affect love?
Lack and Abundance
The lack in love, which can lead to the invention of a loving God and the negation of life, does not merely demystify its own validity. It may, in fact, also be the origin of love. In Nietzsche's Nachlan we find a note on "the most elementary conditions of any growth in love": "A full and potent soul cannot only cope with painful and even dreadful losses, privations, deprivations and contempt: it emerges from such hell with greater abundance and power: and, to say the essential, with new growth in the bliss of love" (1981, 3:893). What is commonly regarded as lack (of over-abundance), the corruption and weakening of society, is characterized by Nietzsche in The Gay Science as a prerequisite for the creation of "great love"; "great love" is the result of squandering, over-extension, giving away, of a giving-away in which it also consists, if one thinks of Zarathustra's doctrine of the wanting-more of love: "Thus it is precisely in times of 'exhaustion' that tragedy runs through houses and streets, that great love and great hatred are born, and that the flame of knowledge flares up into the sky" (1974, 96f.; 1891, 2:56). Finally, the "Natural History of Morals" in Beyond Good and Evil contains a passage in which Nietzsche interprets lack -- i.e., the "times of constraint and fasting" which, in the form of a spreading moral fanaticism, determine "whole generations" -- as a purification and a sharpening of the drive: "This is also a hint for an explanation of the paradox: why it was precisely during the most Christian period of Europe and altogether only under the pressure of Christian value judgments that the sex drive sublimated itself into love (amour-passion)" (1966, 102; 1981, 2:648). The reading of these passages -- their contingent, arbitrary selection is due to genealogy itself, to the impossibility (at the heart of the genealogical paradox) of a totalizing production of the identity of the corpus -- reveals that what prevents the identification of love, the constitution of its constant unity, of its common generality, and of its validity, i.e., the lack genetically inherent in it, is again infiltrated by a separating and tearing difference. Conversely, however, it could be demonstrated that the "misunderstanding of love" (the confusion of "slavely" with "divine" love; the confusion of love which lacks power, and which fails because of its lack, with a love which is strong enough and which succeeds in its transforming communication; the confusion of a love that in its submissive self-giving and self-communication "idealizes and errs" with a love "that despises and loves and transforms and elevates the beloved" [1968a, 506; 1981, 3:427]) is enabled by the not-being-itself of that love which in its wanting-more may turn out to be a creation and transformation. Self-transcendence -- which must endanger the self if it is to be more than the reabsorption of the more and the return to the self, to love itself -- has always already exposed love (which is this very movement of wanting -- more without something that wants prior to it) to the danger of misunderstanding and of the collapse or failure of the giving communication. (Communication is therefore endangered by the experience of love: as a giving communication it can be a transforming love, but, as a powerless self-exhausting communication, it can be a self-destructive love. The opposition between love and communication cannot be generalized, and even the equation of love and giving-[oneself]-away is not generally valid.) It can be seen from this complex description of love, in which the paradoxical relation of genesis and validity expresses itself, how much love admits of different evaluations, by means of which it creates differences that are not only formal or structural, where every concept is not simply itself and mobile. Its non-being-itself becomes relevant only through those evaluations which are, like validity and genesis, undecidable from any abstract or general position.
"Processes of Abbreviation"
The weakness of current appropriations of genealogical approaches is frequently due to a simplification that sacrifices their tense, complex, and paradoxical strategies and in so doing precisely betrays a certain lack.(2) If Nietzsche traces the Christian religion of love, for instance, back to the suffering of someone who loves too much, he abstains from a simple condemnation of Christianity. One of the features of these appropriations, however, is frequently a relapse into the logic of binary oppositions from which one wants to free oneself at all cost. In her book, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity -- whose relevance in the context of an ongoing discussion is not to be evaluated here -- the feminist critic Judith Butler demands a critically feminist, subversive genealogy which uproots outdated oppositions -- above all that between sex and gender.(3) Such a genealogy aims to deconstruct essentialist, foundationalist, and identity-political "strategies of exclusion and hierarchy," in order to allow previously unknown or insufficiently considered "cultural configurations" to emerge or become capable of articulation within those discourses which establish a "cultural life" that can be characterized as "intelligible" (as comprehensible and distinct, even as reasonable) (148-49). Eventually, however, this critically feminist genealogy resists the logic of binary oppositions only by establishing the validity of a new opposition: the author contents herself with substituting, more or less summarily, the "unnatural" and constructed for the "natural" and originary -- which in truth is the always discursively produced. (This is surely one of the reasons why one can already anticipate the majority of the book's claims after reading only a few pages.)
The genealogical approach in Nietzsche is not merely a method. If the only thing one retains from it is a method, one runs the risk of danger in succumbing to the thoughtless uniformity of that which always only wants only itself. The genealogist wants more than the revelation of the having-become, with which genealogy can be confused only at the cost of blatant simplification. Insofar as contingency is constitutive of genealogy-genesis cannot be traced back to validity, validity cannot be traced back to genesis -- the genealogist wants more every time. There is no genealogy "itself": in this sense, wanting-more (which is not simply the will of a subject, of a consistent and self-identical instance) defines genealogy. That is why the genealogist resembles the lover, who must also be recognized as a despiser: only a love that wants more than itself, that consists of this wanting-more and this exposure itself, without being able to secure its existence, is able to turn back onto its "own" division -- the different and irreconcilable effects of lack.
"What is called love in all the languages and silences of this world"
Nietzsche's remarks on love revolve time and again around the idea of a working, creative, productive lack. Altruism, "general human love," the emphasis on loving one's neighbor, all result from lack, from a too-little: "Men have on the whole spoken of love with such emphasis and so idolized it because they have had little of it" (1982, 93; 1981, 1:1116). In another passage, altruism is depicted as a "forgery" of love, because it proclaims surrender and "alteration [Ver-Aenderung]" where "ego-morphism [Ver-Ichlichung]" should prevail, as love is to be an "appropriation or a bestowal" which presupposes "an over-abundance of personality" (1968a, 167; 1981, 3:520). Consequently, altruism lacks such "over-abundance"; as forgery, it is a lack turned productive. The "power of great love" weakens, "false evaluations" proliferate where egoism is lacking (1968a, 197-98; 1981, 3:461); conversely, the egoism of love itself produces a lack which in turn produces a false concept of love, or the concept of love as a false concept:
If one considers that the lover aims at the impoverishment
and deprivation of all competitors and would like
to become the dragon guarding his golden hoard as
the most inconsiderate and selfish of all |conquerors'
and exploiters; if one considers, finally, that to the lover
himself the whole rest of the world appears indifferent,
pale, and worthless, and he is prepared to make any
sacrifice, to disturb any order to subordinate all other
interests -- then one comes to feel genuine amazement
that this wild avarice and injustice of sexual love has
been glorified and deified so much in all ages -- indeed,
that his love has furnished the concept of love as the
opposite of egoism while it actually may be the most
ingenuous expression of egoism. (1974, 89; 1981, 2:48) But abundance and over-abundance, too, can be a lack, since it is possible to suffer "from excess": tired of oneself, one attaches to the lust of distribution the "honorary name of love"' (1974, 88; 181, 2:47). Lack as suffering from excess and as squandering can, on the other hand, stimulate life; it is then no longer the result of a mere tiredness, but of the "transfiguring power of ecstasy," of the power of "what is called love in all the languages and silences of this world." Such love triggers a daring; it allows the lover to discover new capacities" and opens to him the gate to art (1968a, 426-27; 1981, 3:752). No active, transfigurative daring can be thought that is not a self-exposure, and thus both an experience of limits and of transgressing those limits, so it becomes crucial to distinguish stimulating squandering, which results from lack as the suffering from excess, from that unlimited self-spending which also calls itself love and which is based on the lack of resistance:
The instinctive exclusion of any antipathy, any hostility, any
boundaries or divisions in man's feelings: the consequence
of an extreme capacity for suffering and excitement
which experiences any resistance, even any compulsion
to resist, as unendurable displeasure [...]; and finds bliss
(pleasure) only in no longer offering any resistance to
anybody, neither to evil nor to him who is evil -- Love
as the only, as the last possible, way of life. (1963, 602;
1981, 2:1191) The enumeration of all these contradictory economic functions of lack indicates that it can never be determined as the stable center of a closed economy of love. There is always one more language or silence in which love means something different, with no possibility of excluding one meaning, of subordinating it to others or giving it priority. The "all" in Nietzsche's phrase, "what is called love in all the languages and silences of this world," does not refer to the whole: it bears the mark of an additional contingency. This means that genealogy not only exposes to contingency both validity and its inherent claim to common generality -- linguistic experience of love and friendship -- but that it itself does and must participate in contingency, if the relation between genesis and validity is not to be deterministically foreshortened and deprived of its paradoxical potential, its abundance of paradoxes.
Among all the unstable figures of lack discernible in the open economy of love, the one offered by Zarathustra's doctrine of wanting-more is perhaps particularly striking. The consequences of that doctrine seem so far-reaching that in the end one would be hard-pressed to recognize the central theme of egoism and the series of its reversals and shifts any longer. If love wants more than love, it is characterized by a lack. Without lack there is no wanting-more that opens up to the other and thus creates and metamorphoses the other. Because of its essential lack, love is more than mere lack. Lack is the excess, the richness, the abundance and over-abundance of a love that gives itself away, a love that only exists in a metamorphosing giving-away of itself and that therefore is different from the submissive self-spending (which it may also be). It is crucial not to interpret the wanting-more as the striving for completion through the fulfillment of which love rids itself of its lack, comes to rest, and becomes identifiable as love. This would be to reintroduce just the type of love to which Zarathustra's doctrine is opposed: the love that finds itself through the other and in reality strives for nothing but itself in the other. Love wants more than love: its movement is nothing but the transformation and metamorphosis of "itself"; its selfness is nothing but the movement of an originary exposition of the self, an exposition without reappropriation and thus without the identity of a principle of will. Love as a wanting-more (and only when it wants more than wanting itself is wanting-more what it is) can consequently be called the originary opening of otherness which never has the stability of a fixed or a fixing Being and which no longer allows for an opposition between "ego-morphism" and "alteration." Does a "great love," which asks for more than love and is ultimately an originary "alteration," not also coincide with a certain contempt, is it not the "great, the loving contempt that loves most where it despises most" (1963, 334; 1981, 2:468)? Is it not the contempt that is never satisfied with the present, and that does not want itself -- the overman, who is to be loved by the living, is described by Zarathustra as the sea in which the "great contempt can go under" (1963, 125; 1981, 2:280)?
This wanting-more, the originary "alteration" called love, is a giving. Like loving, giving wants more, in that it does not want to preserve itself, in that it forgets itself prior to all self-assertion (whether of positive or negative will): it is what it is only because it dissolves in this peculiar forgetting, a forgetting that is not even the forgetting of something and that consequently must be thought as an opening up without closure -- of the economic circle formed by giving and giving back. Yet if the lover loves the giver and giving, won't love, in giving, want what it cannot want -- itself? Zarathustra loves giving, because he loves the giver, "whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks and returns none: for he always gives away and does not want to preserve himself" (1963, 127; 1981, 2:282).
Heidegger treats the connection between loving and giving in Nietzsche's work extensively. In his lecture on the notion of eternal recurrence, he quotes a fragment in which Nietzsche insists on the identity between creating and loving and suggests a relation between loving and communicating: if "all creation [is] communication" and "the knower, the creator, the lover" are one, then not only creation but also loving is characterized by communication. Heidegger interprets this communication as "giving away." He seeks, first of all, to distinguish this communicative creation, as giving away, from two forms of lack. One can identify "genuine creation" -- the creation whose essence includes "sharing" and "giving away," "distributing" and "founding," "creative force" and "creative standards," "sovereign sufficiency" and questionlessness, the destruction of the hardened and the "projection" of ever new possibilities -- neither with assuring, legitimation-seeking creation, which proclaims a purpose external to itself and which consequently only imitates, nor with creation which exhausts itself in the seeming purposelessness of "mere play" (1984, 2:126f.; 1961, 1:389).(4) These distinctions, meant to prevent a confusion of "genuine creation" with its ungenuine or unreal forms, lead Heidegger to the conclusion that, on the whole, "creation itself and what is created are always extremely difficult to recognize and to unravel." Such a conclusion alone is appropriate to the essence of "genuine creation": for it is the difficulty of distinguishing "genuine" from ungenuine creation, the danger of confusing the two, the withdrawal of what is to be distinguished and separated from the common, that provides the "best protection for the preservation of [genuine creation] as something that cannot be lost, as the inalienable." The more "genuine creation" exposes itself to confusion, the safer it is from ungenuine creating. Being exposed protects the exposed, and makes what is virtually lost unlosable, inalienable. This concise, summarizing formula indicates that Heidegger already draws a determined conclusion from a thought that in its very generality always exceeds any particular conclusion. From this paradoxical and hyperbolical thought, which time and again proves to be decisive for Heidegger's philosophy (he is certainly influenced by Holderlin's verse on the growth of the saving power in the proximity of danger, but also by the dialectical insight that the life of the mind is what it is only because it endures death and preserves itself in it), two conclusions can be drawn. The thought -- that the exposed preserves itself in exposure alone -- implies either that there is nothing exposed that preserves itself purely, or that the exposed only preserves itself all the more purely. While from the perspective of the second conclusion one could argue (against the first) that affecting the exposed affects exposure itself, so that we can't really speak of an exposure, it could also be said, from the perspective of the first (and against the second) that where the exposed manages to preserve itself purely in exposure, we have to ask just what exposure really consists in. The second conclusion gives the thought its determination in Heidegger. What is at stake are the preservation and the protection of "genuine creation," that is, of "genuine giving away" and of "genuine loving." Heidegger emphasizes that Nietzsche comprehends loving in terms of "giving and the giver" -- "often he calls it by these very names" (1984, 2:127, 1961, 1:390). As an inalienable communication preserves itself, that protects itself in and by exposure, this giving-oneself-away can -- if we follow Heidegger's interpretation of the "over-man" -- take on the figure of the lovingly-creating type of the "ruler," and become master of the last man.
Passion without Affect
This argument about a communicative creating and giving loving, as the self-preservation of the inalienable that takes on a shape, complements the determination of love that Heidegger introduces in the first part of his reading of Nietzsche ("The Will to Power as Art"). Although Nietzsche does not make distinctive use of the concepts of affect and passion, although he seems to give in to the "customary representation," using these concepts as "arbitrary substitutes for one another," Heidegger does not want to content himself with that: for "true knowledge," there must be no arbitrary substitution. Thus Heidegger himself sets out, in the spirit of "true knowledge," to distinguish between affect and passion in a way that rejects contingency. Love serves him as an example; love is to infatuation as passion is to affect. As passion (which unlike affect does not know contingency), love belongs to the realm of "true knowledge":
Love is never blind: it is perspicuous. Only infatuation
is blind, fickle, and susceptible -- an affect, not a passion.
To passion belongs a reaching out and opening up of
oneself [...] But such reaching out in passion does
not simply lift us up and away beyond ourselves. It
gathers our essential being to its proper ground, it
exposes our ground for the first time in so gathering,
so that the passion is that through which and in which
we take hold of ourselves and achieve lucid mastery
over the beings around us and within us. (1979, 1:48,
1961, 1:59).(5) If, for its self-assertion, "genuine creation" requires a preservation of its genuineness and its purity that protects itself against all exposure only through and in exposure; if, as a self-preserving unity, "genuine creation" can take shape; if through shaping or imposing form, it can be master; and if these determinations of "genuine creation" also apply to a love which in turn must be called "genuine," then, from the complementing perspective gained by the distinction between passion and affect, the essence and necessity of becoming-master are apparent. In the figure of the master, self-preserving and self-asserting genuineness is not only "master of the last man" -- of the figure of that which can never "authentically" master and therefore never create and love, because it is not simply defeated in a conflict of forces as an inferior perpetuates that antagonism: the becoming-master of the "proper" ruler consists in no longer defining himself "in contrast" to something else (1984, 2:127; 1961, 1:390). The mastery that the one who masters -- or that love as passion -- attains is also a "mastery of oneself," without which there could be no self-preservation and shaping, no giving away and communication, no giving and squandering, no founding and grounding, no projecting and inventing.
Between Will and Resoluteness
Thus the reference to will is established: passion, understood as distinct from affect (and if affect stands for contingency, this understanding also corresponds to "genuine" creation -- free of the contingency of mere play and external purpose -- and "true" knowledge unaffected by the contingency of conceptual substitution), sheds light on "what Nietzsche calls the will to power." For will,
as mastery of oneself, is never encapsulation of the ego
from its surroundings. Will is, in our terms, resoluteness
[Ent-schlossenheit], in which he who wills stations
himself abroad among beings in order to keep them
firmly within his field of action [...] (Heidegger, The
Will to Power, 1979, 1:48, 1961, 1:59) [At this point, i.e. after introducing the distinction between passion and affect, between love and infatuation, which was missing in Nietzsche, but is necessary for the grounding and grounded explanation of his thinking -- only now is the will to power illuminated -- Heidegger translates Nietzsche's thinking into his "own" language, the language of Being and Time. The consequences of this translation, which moves regularly back and forth between two sides or two banks, the consequences of this traffic of thinking are incalculable -- nothing less than "will" and "resoluteness" are at stake. If the essence of the will to power can be defined as resoluteness, and resoluteness hence as will to power -- a substitution of names which does not derive from a lack of "true knowledge" -- then anything Heidegger says about love in this context also applies to his "own" thinking or at least to the interpretation he gives of it at the time of this first lecture on Nietzsche (during the second half of the 1930s). The boundaries between the translated and the translation become permeable, the distance between the proper and the alien, between the two banks or sides -- the distance marked by the congenial embracing and encircling "in our terms," the distance separating and joining "will" and "resoluteness" -becomes infinitely small: who gives what to whom? However, the fact that traffic does take place and must take place makes the opposite thesis plausible as well: the distance becomes infinitely large, the boundaries harden.... The "our" in the phrase "in our terms" reads -- if one observes the dramatic possibilities the passage holds -- like an impossible harmony, like the simultaneous tuning and joyful blending of voices in a sudden, flash-like, well-prepared yet unarranged and unrehearsed unison; it is reminiscent of the linguistic ghost of a unique flash of lightning in which the spontaneously and simultaneously uttered "I love you" shines and fades away.(6) Is the impossibility of an absolute language-consuming simultaneity not enough to expose the declaration of love to the posteriority that makes it a dangerous and endangered act -- chance, luck, misfortune?
...Now the characteristic traits are not seizure and
agitation, but the lucid grip which simultaneously gathers
that passionate being (Heidegger, The Will to Power,
1979, 1:48; 1961, 1:59).
Passion, truly understood, diligently and seriously defined, makes will or resoluteness accessible. Since in Nietzsche's thinking, too, will is not one concept among others (since will signifies the "Beings of beings in traditional metaphysics" and in Nietzsche's radicalization of the metaphysical tradition), and because the conceiving of beings "according to their basic character as will is not a view held by particular thinkers" but "a necessity in the history of the Dasein which those thinkers ground" (1979, 1:36; 1961, 1:46), light must be cast from passion, understood in its essential difference from mere affect, in the direction of will and the will to power. Essentially, passion is will and will turns out to be in its essence passionate. Passion, will, and resoluteness are three names which can stand in for one another without veering into the arbitrary. They are the names of a releasing gathering -- gathering as release, concentration as extravagance. The gathering and the holding on characteristic of passion and will - taking hold and mastering oneself, ruling as an opening grounding, becoming dominant over the beings, "around us and within ourselves" -- are thus not the fixing, arresting, and freezing of life, of becoming and its possibilities, that Heidegger seeks to distinguish from "genuine creation." Rather, passion releases (us) to the extent to which it brings (us) back (to our essential being). This release in turn is double, at once a liberation that makes possible the gathering of our being "to its ground" and the "reaching out into the expanse of beings" through which waste or extravagance shows itself as belonging to passion. The possibility of a liberating gathering is opened up by a passion that gathers. Such doubly liberating and releasing passion, of course, not only distinguishes itself from affect, from "the seizure that blindly agitates us," but also even from itself -- a differentiation which must also traverse the will. This passion attains -- with the will -- the predicate of greatness:
Because passion brings us back to our essence, because
it loosens and liberates us for the grounds of our essence,
and because passion at the same time reaches
out into the expanse of beings, for these reasons passion -- and
we mean great passion -- possesses extravagance
and resourcefulness, not only the ability but the
necessity to submit, without bothering about what its
extravagance entails. It displays that self-composed superiority
characteristic of great will. (Heidegger 1979,
1:49; 1961, 1:59f.)
Unity of a Doctrine?
If one wanted--from the perspective of love--to delineate the decisive traits constituting Heidegger's complex portrayal of will, passion, and determination (they determine the dense, overburdened, and at times confusing traffic or exchange taking place between his thought and the "doctrine" he characterizes), the following points would perhaps be especially significant:
1. According to Heidegger, love is not a theme or a motif in Nietzsche's "doctrine" like the other themes or motifs. To the extent that Nietzsche's thought is to constitute a doctrine, and to the extent that will as the being of beings is to be central to it, love names this doctrine itself.
2. The giving-away and communicating which define love (although such a definition is as insufficient for love as it is for the will) are reconnected(7) in Heidegger's presentation of the mastering and (in its mastery) self-preserving shape. Interpretations based on such a presentation can, for instance, refer to that (in hindsight) politically overdetermined fragment from Nietzsche's Nachla[beta] in which--shortly before the discussion of the "misunderstanding of love" that collapses "slavely" and "divine" love-active, creative, and inventive self-spending is described as the imprinting and imposition of shape or form:
The great man feels his power over a people, his temporary
coincidence with a people or a millennium--this
enlargement in the feeling of himself as causa and
voluntas is misunderstood as |altruism -- it drives him to
seek means of communication: all great men are inventive
in such means. They want to shape themselves
in great communities, they want to give a form to the
diverse, the disordered; they are excited to see chaos
[ ... ] To gain such monstrous energy of greatness in
order to shape the man of the future through breeding,
and on the other hand through the annihilation of
millions of failures, and not to perish from the suffering
one creates, the like of which has never before existed!
(1968a, 506; 1981, 3:427f.)(8)
3. A first consequence of this reconnection consists in the fact that the wanting-more characteristic of passionate love and will is never threatened by self-alienation and loss, erasure and forgetting. As a wanting-more, love and will are precisely what cannot be lost:
Passion has nothing to do with mere desire [possible
allusion to Hegel, who, notably in the Phenomenology,
defined desire as an incessant wanting-more, as the
perpetual lack of a bad infinity: "In this satisfaction,
however, [the 1] has the experience of the independence
of its object. Desire and the self-certainty obtained
in its gratification, are conditioned by the object;
for self-certainty comes from the sublation of this other:
in order that this sublation can take place, there must
be this other. Thus self-consciousness, by its negative
relation to the object, is unable to sublate it; it is really
because of that relation that it produces the object
again, and the desire as well" (1977, 109; 1970, 3:143)],
is not a matter of the nerves, of inflamation and dissipation
[possible allusion to the aesthetics of the total
work of art].(9) All of that, no matter how excited its
gestures, Nietzsche reckons as attrition of the will. Will
is what it is only as wanting out beyond itself, as wanting-more.
(1979, 1:49; 1961, 1:60) And: "Willing always brings the self to itself; it thereby finds itself beyond itself. It maintains itself within the trust away from one thing toward something else" (1979, 1:52; 1961, 1:63). The schema followed by the reconnection of squandering, sharing, giving away, and communicating to the mastering figure or shape is in every case--in the case of passion, will, power,(10) even life -- one of irreducible "schematization of chaos" (of which Nietzsche says that its sight stimulates and thus fascinates the one who shapes) and one of limiting "horizon formulation" (the horizon is, says Heidegger, "somehow always measured and |seen through,' in a broad sense of |seeing and looking'"; it "also first lets chaos appear as chaos through its transparent stability" [1987, 3:85ff.; 1961, 1:571f.]).
4. Heidegger's presentation cannot simply be treated as the presentation of what has been presented. Why? Because what was presented is at work in the presentation itself: resoluteness, will, creation, shaping are not external to the presentation but rather constitute it as such. In other words: only through this always already self-presenting presentation, only through this presentation of presentation as presentation, does Nietzsche's thought assume the unity of a doctrine toward which in Heidegger's eyes it tends everywhere. The unity of presentation and the unity of the will that relies only on itself and which, in its unattachable position and secure shape, wants to go beyond itself, are one. That is why one may put the law that governs Heidegger's presentation of Nietzsche's doctrine (the resolute closure of a thinking that remains open) in the following formulation: will is will to presentation, resoluteness is resoluteness to presentation; but presentation is presentation of will and resoluteness, it is the will to will and resoluteness to resoluteness. Is there any doctrine that does not follow this law? Heidegger regularly encounters moments in which
we see clearly how unconcerned Nietzsche is about a
unified, solidly grounded presentation of his teaching. We
realize that he is only getting under way, that he is
resolute. His task is not a matter of indifference to him;
neither is it of only supplemental interest. He knows, as
only a creator can, that what from the outside looks like
a summary presentation is the proper shape of the matter
itself, in which things collide against one another in
such a way that they expose their proper essence. Nevertheless,
Nietzsche remains under way, and the immediate
casting of what he wants to say always forces
itself upon him. In such a position he speaks directly
the language of his times and of the contemporary
|science.' When he does so he does not shy f rom conscious
exaggeration and one-sided formulations of his
thoughts, believing that in this way he can most clearly
set in relief what in his vision and in his questioning is
different from the run-of-the-mill. Yet when he proceeds
in such a manner he is always able to keep his eye
on the whole; he can make do, as it were, with one-sidedness.
The results are fatal when others, his readers,
latch onto such statements in a superficial way and,
depending on what Nietzsche just then is offering
them, either declare it his sole opinion on the matter
or, on the grounds of any given particular litterances,
all too facilely refute him. (1987, 3:50; 1961, 1:61; emphasis
What does Nietzsche want? A careful reading of this programmatic passage raises the question of whom Heidegger really, properly, means when he claims that "he" knows that what appears "from the outside" as merely a "summary presentation" is in truth "the proper shape of the matter itself" --the never blurred gaze toward the whole is not an external, contingent gaze: the schematization of chaos and horizon-formation are effected by presentation itself. For if Nietzsche resolutely goes in the direction of such a shaping without attaining it, and if it requires Heidegger's resoluteness in order to follow this path to the end, then the shaping, too, remains a pending one, a shaping waiting for a reader who does not read the thinker's sentences "from the outside."(12)
5. Although there is ample evidence of a contingency that perhaps cannot be reduced to mastery, shape, or form, Heidegger does not take unity, the totality of will and presentation, into account. Three more or less outstanding pieces of evidence, three more or less conspicuous traces of this contingency, should be mentioned: the squandering of a will which, because of its by no means accidental "carefreeness, is perhaps not able to regain and integrate what has been squandered; the wanting-more as a wanting-beyond-oneself that is not only directed toward itself; and the external disfiguration of a presentation that on account of its incompleteness is exposed to the external.
A squandering--which is not an option for the will but rather an essential necessity ("not only the ability to share, but the imperative to share")--endangers the unity of the will because the will, which cannot be lost, must in squandering irretrievably lose itself ("the carefreeness as to what happens in squandering"). On the one hand, squandering without irretrievable loss is not squandering at all, but an economic operation; on the other hand, one can only squander that which cannot be squandered, precisely the inalienable, the will. For what kind of squandering would it be that squandered merely what could be squandered and lost at any time anyway? In its essentially necessary squandering, will exposes itself to a contingency that--as a unity or mastering shape -- it cannot want. But can the distinctions between mastery and weariness of the will, between passion and desire, even between love and affect, be maintained in their respective mutual exclusivity? Squandering exhibits will's essence, i.e., its wanting--more as a wanting-beyond-oneself; only a will that wants more and more to go beyond itself can squander itself. In explicating this movement of self-transcendence, Heidegger restricts his gaze to the self. But doesn't the squandering of the will, as an irretrievable squandering of the inalienable, coincide with the wanting-more? Isn't the wanting-beyond-oneself the will's self-squandering? Isn't contingency inscribed in this peculiar self-transcendence?(13) What, then, is the relation of the will, in its wanting-more, to itself? How do the beyond-oneself and the toward-oneself correlate? Are the exaggerations and "one-sided formulations of thought," which the reader in a position of externality and contingent insulation threatens to take as "isolated statements," not also a sign of a disfiguration inherent in will and, thus, in presentation--a sign that presents the resoluteness to doctrine as an irreducible, never satisfied wanting--more of will failing in its shaping? Why is it necessary to warn against externality, why is externality dangerous, and why does Heidegger attribute, even share, resoluteness to and with Nietzsche? Is it ever possible entirely to decide what one wants? If one wanted to convert one of the intentions expressed in these questions into a statement or a thesis, it could perhaps be claimed that Heidegger's presentation veils the necessary contingency it ceaselessly betrays."
"I love you": If passionate love wants more than to be loved, if the wanting-more of love never contents itself with its reflection, if it does not seek its mirror-image(15) and is not its speculation, its knowing-itself-in-the-other ("And he himself simply did not love enough: else he would not have been so wrathful that one did not love him. All great love does not want love: it wants more."); if, on the other hand, this wanting-more does not refer to a figure of will and love, if it does not strengthen, confirm, and assert this figure each time through its movement, then the danger of the declaration of love for the generally common consists in the very fact that it inevitably says something different each time. Not only because common generality itself is a precarious and unstable concept, not only because its genesis does not dissolve in it without remainder and remains heterogeneous to it--the heterogeneity that distinguishes genesis from validity is from the outset a kind of violence, of the violent overcoming of forces ("In all souls an equal number of often recurring experiences has come to be predominant . . ." [emphasis added])--but above all because love as a wanting-more never means itself and refers to itself--in the other. Perhaps the most radical version of this idea views love as an originary alter-ation: for as such, love is always already given over to forgetting and threatens every generally common understanding prior to all communication. Lovers' conversations revolving relentlessly around love may originate in this forgetting. "I love you": an impossible actualization of that which withdraws from any actuality, any immediacy, any presence.
Restitution and Restoration
Certainly: wanting-more can also be interpreted in a trivial sense as the will to take possession of others, and in a less trivial, indeed idealistic sense, as a reconstruction, sought by love, of the originally lost unity. This idealistic interpretation no doubt has one of its paradigms in the Symposium which Nietzsche, in an early autobiographical text (1864), calls his "favorite literary text" (1981, 3:118). Eros, who in Diotima's speech distinguishes himself in his demonic intermediate position between the immortal gods and the mortal humans, between eternity and finitude; Eros, who, due to his heritage, remains kindred to lack and pursues the beautiful, desires the beautiful, the good, truth--this is the philosophical determination of erotic love. In the contemplation of the uniform and eternal, of the eidos, the loving striving of the one who bears the name of all names for will and desire (the will and desire that aim at the good and, thus, at truth and beauty) calms itself. That love wants more than love in this paradigmatic context means that love does not settle for being loved by the beautiful incarnate. As the longing for the separated whole (Aristophanes' speech), as ascent to the One (Diotoma's speech within Socrates' speech), the erotic movement is one of restituting or restoring. Its more, its excess and its insufficiency, is finally integrated entirely into the reconstituted unity. That is why eventually love does come into its own, into its truth, that is, into Truth in general, toward which it tends. While the idea of an originary alter-ation and the forgetting of love do not lead the wanting-more to a satisfying disappearance in the sublation of all movement--while it maintains this wanting-more precisely in its absolute priority--the idea of a restitution of an originary unity and the reunification of the separate (which at first perseveres indifferently in its separation)(16) has virtually always already directed the wanting-more toward such a unity, thereby erasing it.(17)
Looking back on what we have argued so far, we could summarize as follows: in Nietzsche, the question of love and its danger is closely linked to the question of genealogy, if the genealogy of common generality is already implied in every genealogical study of the relationship between genesis and validity. If the danger of love consists in our need to communicate about it incessantly, because we are incapable, in talking about it, to come to any conclusive agreement (think of the essential variety and the consequences of a wanting-more which acts as originary alter-ation); if the experience of love -- to follow Wittgenstein -- can effect a shift of the river bed, even a dissolution of the uncertain boundaries between river and river bed (which exposes both to their disappearance), then two possibilities of responding to this experience, to this danger, take shape:
1. The nihilist will always respond to the sentence "I love you" by putting love in question: "Love, does it exist?" He will identify love with its own abolition--a purely negative evaluation of appearance, deception, and illusion--and he will confirm the closing-up of any opening towards the other and strive for the destruction of alterity; he will thus entrust himself to the nothing.
2. Wittgenstein maintains that a language game is only possible, "if one relies on something"--which does not mean that "one can rely on something" (1969, 66). Doesn't one only rely on something when one cannot rely on it, when the "mythology" develops into a state of flux [Flu[beta]] and the boundaries between river [Flu[beta]] and river bed [Flu[beta]bett] dissolve? So perhaps it is precisely this dangerous experience of love--that exposes and suspends any "mythology" and any common generality--that makes what Nietzsche calls "unconditional trust" possible: it is in this trust that "the full bliss of love" is to reside (1982, 135; 1981, 1:1164). In order to distinguish itself from the mere calculation of an investment. trust may not, on the one hand, be based on anything which could provide security. It must arise from the experience of a dangerous exposure and suspension of common generality and maintain itself in it. Trust is, therefore, always the "monstrous, unbelieved and unbelievable exception," as Nietzsche refers to blissful love, which can only be experienced by "profoundly distrustful, evil, and bitter" people: donation or gift. On the other hand, the unconditionality of such trust is not a merely external, separable attribute, for two reasons: first, because trust, which does not exhibit a moment of unconditionality, is hardly more than an artificial sublation of disbelief and distrust; second, because a trust which is measured by the experience of an exposure and suspension of common generality, of a dissolution of all boundaries, must be unconditional for that very reason. The less trust can rely on givens and certainty, the more it is trust and the more unconditional it appears. Unconditional trust--which defines love as the dangerous experience of exposing or suspending (linguistic) common generality--consequently needs distancing, so as not to succumb to itself. This peculiar distancing, which separates it from itself and which alone keeps it in existence, may sometimes take the form of the polemic or irony. Nietzsche also ascribes the power of such a necessary distancing to music: "Unconditional trust makes one silent [Think of "what is called love in all the languages and silences of this world . . ."]; indeed, there is a suffering and weight in this blissful silence, which is why such souls weighed down with happiness are usually more grateful to music than are other and better people: for through music, as though through colored ecstasy, they see and hear their love, as it were, grow more distant, more touching and less oppressive" (1982, 135; 1891, 1:1164.). Without the cleft opened up by the distancing and the distant view, the gift of love could not be accepted. There is not only a loneliness of the overfull shining in its coldness and clouding in its shine, there is not only a poverty and lack, a taciturn wretchedness of the givers, who long for the dark and nocturnal that "creates warmth out of that which shines": there is also the loneliness of those who receive. The song of giving awakens where the lovers--those who receive and those who give, the givers, who have been given--can love because they grow distant from each other, from their love. Distance is a poison [Gift] which hampers and closes, stimulates and opens. "Night has come; now all the songs of lovers awaken. And my soul too is the song of a lover.--Thus sang Zarathustra" (1963, 219; 1981, 2:364).
Necessity of the Contingent
Love--that "unconditional trust"--is thus simultaneously both a threat to the generally common (which is exposed to contingency) and an active affirmation of contingency itself, which is why there can never be sufficient reason for loving any particular person. Any attempt to answer the question "Why do you love X?" by enumerating sufficient reasons is not only doomed to failure: question and answer already betray love. Perhaps only he loves who affirms contingency--and thus also affirms the return of the affirmed and the genealogy of love always made necessary again by the return of the contingent. Saying yes "to a single moment" carries with it the affirmation and the endorsement "of all existence." The contingent, the moment-the conditioning of the moment is not to be understood in the sense of a causality or a teleology-can never be affirmed and endorsea in isolation, for one cannot affirm and endorse what is wholly separate. The absolute, unconditional affirmation and justification of the contingent, its unbinding redemption, is not an affirmation and inhibition of the absolute--an absolution without the absolute, a contingent necessity of the contingent, a necessity of the contingent(18) that in itself is neither contingent nor necessary. The yes through which necessity comes into its own (a yes that merely confirms an existing necessity would from the outset cancel itself) is placed, and not simply placed, in the space and time in which the necessity of the contingent dominates and in which the eternal return of the moment, embedded in existence as such, takes place. The contingency of the yes, which cannot be prescribed by any law, is simultaneously the necessity which inscribes it--as an affirmation of the necessity of the contingent--into the scene of the eternal return. The yes is the affirmed moment which returns eternally. But do these paradoxes--the paradoxes of the amor fati(19)--still presuppose an absolutization of existence? How is one to make sense of the "eternities" which would be required "to condition this one event"? Do existence and eternal return constitute a coherent whole?
Moment and Existence
If one cannot affirm the moment without wanting more than the immediate, affirmed moment (one says yes every time to "all existence" which conditioned the event of the moment; one says yes every time to the return of the "single moment" and thus of "all existence"), moment and existence still fail to coincide on the whole. Existence does not constitute a coherent whole; the fusion of moment and existence never fully succeeds; the moment is more or less (than) "all existence"; "all existence" is more or less (than) the moment; wanting-more is irreducible since saying yes itself (on which the redemption and justification of eternity in the moment depends) cannot strip off contingency. The necessity of contingency which comprises affirmation and lends necessity to it, always also remains supplementary and contingent, so that contingency and necessity are neither opposed nor in any way perfectly congruent. If it is the case that wanting-more is irreducible, then Nietzsche's thinking turns out to be a thinking of originary alter-ation. The affirmation of moment and existence thus contains, in the unconditional trust of this affirmation, what "in all languages and silences" has been called love.
Is friendship--like love--not merely the frightening experience of a misunderstanding that disrupts that common generality of language? Is it also "a kind of continuation of love" (1974, 89; 1981, 2:48), a continuation without anything to be continued, since love, as originary alter-ation, as unconditional trust, as affirmation of the moment and of all existence, as contingent and necessary necessity of the contingent, as affirmation of genealogy, consists only in its "continuations," in an alterity that is neither its alterity nor an unreferential, detached alterity destroying all alterity?(20) Can friendship be seen as an originary silence and distancing from love (friends never say, "I love you")? It is possible to read Wittgenstein's unconventional observation that love is not a feeling at all and is, as opposed to pain, "put to the test" (1967, 89) from the perspective opened up by the idea of an originary alter-ation, which allows us to interpret the claim that friendship is "a kind of continuation" and a game of love?
The wanted "more" can be understood in two ways: as wanting something else and as wanting something higher. Zarathustra's speech on loving one's neighbor mentions the friend. Zarathustra does not teach "the neighbor" but "the friend" (1963, 173; 1981, 2:325), the farthest and the future, who, in a certain sense, namely in his distance from the nearest fellow man, becomes rather a "thing" and a "ghost": "Higher than love of the neighbor is love of the farthest and the future; higher yet than love of human beings I esteem the love of things and ghosts" (1963, 173; 1981, 2:324).
To interpret this passage, one could doubtless refer here to various theories of fetishism, some older and some more recent, which describe it according to a logic of substitution or of the abstraction inherent in the structure of commodity exchange. But perhaps it is sufficient to point out that, in the immediate context of this speech, the friend, as the "farthest and the future," bears the marks of a ghostly absence, even a peculiar un- or over-humanity. According to Zarathustra, the friend is "a presentiment of the Overman"; the Overman is to be loved in him. The movement informing his doctrine of the friend is a double one: that of creative projection and that of a distant causation. For the friend (not to be confused with the neighbor or fellow man, with the previously sanctified thou of the love of one's neighbor, with the witness who holds up to us the desired mirror image(21)) is both created and creative: pro-jected, thrown forward into the distance of the future, and causing in and from this distance today's presence. Affirmation of the ghost, love of the ghost as creating the friend:
This ghost that runs after you, my brother [what value
does the brother have here, what does he signify, what
is his relation to friend and neighbor?), is more beautiful
than you; why do you not give him your flesh and
your bones? But you are afraid and run to your neighbor
[... ] . Would that you could not endure all sorts
of neighbors and their neighbors [chain of figures revolving
around and distancing themselves from the
love of one's neighbor: the 1, the thou, the nearest, the
witness, the ghost, the friend, the farthest, the lover,
the creator, the giver, the overman, the brother, the
fool, the actor ... ]; then you would have to create your
friend and his overflowing heart out of yourselves.
(1963, 173; 1981, 2:324) The creation of a friend--this "Love-of-the-Farthest," this love of the previous, near and yet distant ghost who does not have any bones and flesh (yet) but who is (already) said to be "more beautiful" (a first hint at the view that creation is not absolute invention, not creatio ex nihilo, and that the created friend does not merely reproduce or mirror the creator)--creates something that does not, in or through difference, coincide with the creator who creates "out of himself." Difference remains inscribed within creation: no creation without it. How else would the friend differ from the neighbor--from the manipulated thou, the persuaded witness, from the product of manipulation rather than creation?(22) This creation of the friend, this "Love-of-the-Farthest," is thus an originary alter-ation, an alter-ation that no longer presupposes the creative 1: if the other is created "out of oneself " (is creation anything else?), I and thou can no longer be kept distinctly separate, differentiated or even opposed. Precisely because the lover and creator creates the other "out of himself " (not the neighbor, not the fellow man or the thou evoked in the love of one's neighbor, but the over-human, at once near and distant), precisely because love and creation are an originary alter-ation (a wanting-more?), the friend "himself " is a creator, someone with an "overflowing" and "overfull" heart. By giving away, he creates "himself " a friend. One must know how "to be a sponge," how to accept and take in a gift, how to let oneself be created and loved by the over-human other, the "creative friend," in order to become a friend in the first place: "Let the future and the farthest be for you the cause of your today; in your friend you shall love the overman as your cause" (1963, 174; 1981, 2:325). Doesn't this double creation sublate itself? Don't the creators eventually unite in the unity of this one friendship, mirroring each other in absolute reflection? Hardly. Just as the originary alter-ation is not determined by the opposition or the clear distinction between I and thou, one and other, subject and object, so alter-ation does not produce a unity. Rather, it is part of its logic," its "structure," its "essence," that alterity, which is not measured against identity, remains determinative. The originary alter-ation is an un-sublatable distancing.
The affirmation of the farthest and the friend, love and the unconditional trust in the future and the overman, bring it about that the overman, the friend, becomes the cause of the closest and the present: that is, of the today. Only by affirming the friend are we |ourselves' affirmed and become friends - but this does not mean that this yes yes of friendship erases the distance between the farthest and the nearest, the future and the present, between what--as the affirmed--is no longer merely future and merely present. But what does the creative friend, whose friendship seems to be defined by this giving, give away? He gives away "always a complete world," which is never a structure dominated by one shape or by the structure of fixity and closure: "And as the world unravelled for him, so it comes together again in rings, as the becoming of the good through evil, as the becoming of purpose out of accident."(24) Saying yes to the friend -- through which he is created and can create, and through which we turn into affirming friends and sponges absorbing a world (the yes of the friend)--is saying yes to eternal return, to eternally returning friendship, to originary alter-ation, to the Yes which in its irreducible distance (affirmer and affirmed, affirmed affirmer and affirming affirmed do not become one), in its essential multiplicity (there are at least two affirmations), in its constitutive supplementarity (the affirming creator becomes the creator by the affirmation of what is neither purely manufactured nor merely created and which itself creates), in its determined indeterminacy (who says yes?), produces friendship and eternal return. Is it not just such a yes, barely recognizable, is it not just such an originating of the contingent-necessary necessity of the contingent that Nietzsche calls amor fati and that he affirms, even loves? Perhaps all those who identify Nietzsche as a fatalist and, for example, derive--whether critically or apologetically--a reactionary ideology from the amor fati, have misunderstood this expression. They have confused love and fatalism; they have failed to grasp fatum from the perspective of amor--they have failed the true test of "love" and "friendship."(25) "Amor Fati: let that be my love henceforth! [ . . .] And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer" (1974, 223; 1981, 2:161) [emphasis added].
(1.) Wherever possible, reference is made both to English translations and original texts in other languages, in that order. Published translations have sometimes been modified, and when no standard English translation was available, the translations are the translators. (2.) Such appropriations mostly refer to those authors who, in the past decades, have strongly emphasized the significance of genealogy, without reducing its complexity: Deleuze and Foucault. At the beginning of Nietzsche and Philosophy, Deleuze characterizes genealogy, identified as "critical philosophy," as follows: "Critical philosophy has two inseparable moments: the referring back of all things and any kind of origin to values, but also the referring back of these values to something which is, as it were, their origin and determines their value" (1962, 2; 1983, 2). In "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," Foucault analyzes the genealogist's uses of the concepts of emergence, descent, and origin; it is one of the genealogist's tasks to portray that which does not seem to have a history--one of Foucault's examples is love--as an historical event or as an irregular and discontinuous series of events. The analysis of descent leads to a revelation of "the exteriority of the accident" as the origin of our being and our knowledge, as the origin of that which is valid--for us (1971, 152; 1977, 146). (3.) Judith Butler uses the concept of genealogy several times: "a critical genealogy" (5); "a feminist genealogy" (5); "a genealogy that might expose the binary options as a variable construction" (7), etc.; occasionally she refers expressly to Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals (25) and to "Foucault's genealogical critique of foundationalism" (72). (4.) Heidegger identifies this play with the concept of l'art pour l'art. In a passage from the Nachla[beta] dealing with the "transfigurative power of ecstasy," with the stimulating effect of love and its--organic--significance for the artistic creation, Nietzsche writes: "If we subtract all traces of this intestinal fever from lyricism in sound and word, what remains of lyricism and music?--L'art pour l'art perhaps: the virtuoso croaking of shivering frogs, despairing in their swamp--All the rest was created by love--" (1968a, 427; 1981, 3:752f.). (5.) In Being and Time the concept of affect--at least the word "affect"--has a different meaning. Heidegger mentions affects in connection with his fundamental ontological analysis of mood [Stimmung] and state-of-mind Befindlichkeit]. The purpose of a phenomenology directed ahead--or backwards--and anchored in fundamental ontology must be to expose the hidden foundation of any present doctrine of affect: "How the Interpretation of the affects was carried further in the Stoa, and how it was handed down to modern times through patristic and scholastic theology, is well known. What has escaped notice is that the basic ontological interpretation of the affective life in general has been able to make scarcely one forward step worthy of mention since Aristotle. On the contrary, affects and feelings come under the theme of psychical phenomena, functioning as a third class of these, usually along with ideation and volition. They sink to the level of accompanying phenomena. It has been one of the merits of phenomenological research that it has again brought these phenomena more unrestrictedly into our sight. Not only that: Scheler, accepting the challenges of Augustine and Pascal, has guided the problematic to a consideration of how acts which |represent' and acts which |take an interest' are interconnected in their foundations. But even here the existential-ontological foundations of the phenomenon of the act in general are admittedly still obscure" (1962, 178; 1979, 139). For an analysis of love with reference to Heidegger and fundamental ontology, see Agamben 1988. (6.) Cf. Roland Barthes (1977, 179) who with the expression eclair unique alludes to Baudelaire's "La mort des amants," which can be interpreted with Nietzsche as saying "yes" to the moment and therefore to eternity: to the eternal recurrence of the moment. "For nothing stands by itself," Nietzsche writes, "neither in ourselves, nor in things: no matter if our soul has trembled and resonated like a string only one single time, all eternities were necessary to cause this one event--and all eternity was approved, redeemed, justified, and affirmed in this one and only moment of our saying yes" (1981, 3:893). (7.) "Because passion brings us back to our essence [...]." (8.) On the politico-philosophical implications of the concepts of Gistalt, shape, or form and its imposition (Gestaltung, shaping), especially in Heidegger, cf. Lacoue-Labarthe (1975 and 1988). (9.) Cf. Garcia Duttmann 1991, 244ff. (10.) "In contrast, wherever superabundance and plenitude, that is, the revelation of essence which unfolds of itself, bring themselves under the law of the simple, willing wills itself in its essence, and is will. Such will is will to power. For power is not compulsion or violence" (1979, 1:136; 1961, 1:161). (11.) "In order to live, the living must for its own sake be propelled toward the permanent" (1987, 3:85; 1961, 1:571). In Otobiographies: L'enseignement de Nietzsche et la politique du nom propre, Jacques Derrida analyzes the relationship between giving and life in Ecce homo (55f.). Derrida's lecture Eperons. Les styles de Nietzsche (1976) offers clues regarding the relationship between love and gender in Nietzsche. (12.) On the implications of treating Nietzsche's thought as a doctrine, see, for example, Derrida's "Interpreting Signatures (Nietzsche/Heidegger)" (58ff.). (13.) What Heidegger later calls Gelassenheit, "releasement" or "letting be," opens up a field in which neither a will nor a negative not-wanting referring to the will is dominant; likewise, this field is not staked out by the boundaries of a horizon. Heidegger's reference to Meister Eckhart, and his differentiation from him--from his motto, "Leave yourself"--ought to keep us from thinking this Gelassenheit as one of the will, as entering into God's will. "That alone would be a perfect and true will," Meister Eckhart states in his "Rede der Unterweisung" "that one would enter completely into the will of God and would be without one's own will." And: "The will is perfect and fair if it is without any ego-link and if it has given itself up and has been molded into the will of God. Yes, the more this is the case, the fairer and truer is the will. And in such a will you can achieve anything, be it love or whatever you wish" (66). How, then, does Gelassenheit, which remains outside of any will, relate to a will that--to use insufficient language -- "stands" "outside of" "itself," because its unity is subject to an essential contingency? On the question of mastery, position, and unity of the will in Nietzsche, cf. especially Hamacher 1988. (14.) From such a perspective one can take Heidegger's equation of resoluteness and will as an occasion to analyze the concepts of contingency and accident in Being and Time. Heidegger reserves the concept of contingency--so it seems--for the depiction of the "present-at-hand"; it belongs to the ontological field of a possibility, which is "on a lower level than actuality and necessity." With Dasein "this or that cannot happen or |come to pass'": "Dasein is not something present-at-hand which possesses its competence for something by way of an extra; it is primarily Being-possible. Dasein is in every case what it can be, and in the way in which it is its possibility. The Being-possible which is essential for Dasein, pertains to the ways of its solicitude for Others and of its concern with the |world,' as we have characterized them; and in all these, and always, it pertains to Dasein's potentiality-for Being towards itself, for the sake of itself. The Being-possible which Dasein is existentially in every case, is to be sharply distinguished both from empty logical possibility and from the contingency of something present-at-hand, so far as with the present-at-hand this or that can come to pass.'" As a modal category of presence-at-hand, possibility signifies what is not yet actual and what is not at any time necessary" (1962, 183; 1979, 143). However, what be-falls [fallt zu) resolute Dasein "from the with-world and the environment" are "what we call accidents [Zufalle]" (1962, 346; 1979, 300). The difference between Dasein and being-present-at-hand, between the possibility of something as "thrown" and as a modal category of the being-present-at-hand, corresponds to the difference between accident and contingency. Even to Dasein, which is submitted to the |they,' nothing contingent can happen; even regarding the inauthentic existence this or that cannot |come to pass.' Such an existence "loses itself in those |opportunities' which are closest to it, and pays Dasein's way by a reckoning up of |accidents' [Zufalle]." Its "making present" "does not await but forgets": irresolute, it understands itself "in terms of those very closest events and be-failings" [Zu-falle] which it "encounters and which thrust themselves upon" it "in varying ways" (1962, 463; 1979, 410). The fact that Heidegger, although dealing here with fallen Dasein, does not place the word Zufall in quotation marks but rather spells it with a hyphen, virtually confirms the ontological difference he sees between contingency and be-falling or accident. Be-falling, in the sense of what happens to resoluteness, or more precisely, of what resoluteness lets happen to it, depends on its power of disclosure. The general question which arises is therefore the following: is it only the resolute power of the resolute Dasein which enables the experience of the accident, or can one actually speak of an accident when it still resists that power and thus approaches contingency? (15.) According to Freud, narcissistic object-choice has as its aim being loved; at the same time, however, the "dependence on the loved object" has its effect on the reflection of narcissism. The asymmetry created by the dependence on the loved object and its independence, which reminds us of the logic of desire as unravelled in the Phenomenology, may inscribe the wanting-more in the replacing reflection: "Those who love have lost a part of their narcissism, so to speak, and can only replace it by being loved" (1975, 3:65). At least two hermeneutic strategies--at least two strategies, of which one is hermeneutic and the other is no longer simply subjected to hermeneutics-result from such an interpretation of psychoanalysis: either one discerns in the movement of wanting-more some degradation, appearance, negativity, diversion, perversion, or one recognizes its un-sublatable necessity. Either one understands the platonizing interpretation of the Narcissus myth, found, for instance, in Marsilius Ficinus, in the sense of a wanting-more inscribed in the replacing reflection, or one understands this wanting-more itself in the sense of that interpretation.
Marsilius Ficinus, interpreting the inherited Narcissus myth, writes in his De Amore that the soul cannot satisfy its desire if it confuses the image of beauty given by the physical figure with beauty itself which is its own beauty: "Cumque id minime advertat, dum aliud quidem cupit, aliud sequitur, desiderium suum explere non potest" (235). One desires or wants something and yet pursues something else, one therefore always wants more--or less--than one wants. Is that the case because there is an external dependence which can be detected as appearance and be revoked, which is thus still a reflection (narcissism as perversion of love), or rather because the external dependence (the independence of the external object) is irrevocable and undetectable and because one can never exactly determine what it is one wants and desires (love as perversion of narcissism)? (16.) The wise immortals--the Gods--and the ignorant mortals have, this indifference in common neither of them knows desire--the desire of what the ignorant lacks. Only as a desirer does one experience oneself as someone separated. The knowingly-ignorant who desire wisdom have an experience the wise and ignorant can never have; to the extent, however, to which ignorance is a negative concept, a concept not for an absolute, but for a relative lack, it must be stated: separated are also those who are ignorant without knowing--without knowing about Eros. Can a person who does not lack anything due to the absolute plenitude of his being lack the lack? Is there any such thing as absolute plenitude or absolute lack? Can lack disappear in a plenitude without lack? (17.) One of Hegel's early fragments on the founding of a religion certainly belongs to the history of philosophical representations which sees in love the possibility of (re)constituting wholeness: "The theoretical syntheses become entirely objective and completely opposed to the subject. The practical activity destroys the object and is entirely subjective-only in love alone one is at one with the object, it does not dominate and it is not dominated [... ]. That union can be called union of subject and object, of freedom and nature, of the real and the possible. If the subject keeps the form of the subject, nature remains nature, then no union has been achieved. The subject, the free being is the overpowerful, and the object, nature the dominated" (1970, 1:242).
Holderlin's prose draft of the metric version of Hyperion ends with the claim of the overcomingly-uniting power of love reconciling the finite with the infinite: "We cannot deny our drive to free ourselves, to refine ourselves, to progress into infinitude--that would be animal-like; but we can neither deny the drive to be determined, to receive--that would not be human. We must perish in the quarrel of these opposing drives. But love unites the two. It ceaselessly strives for the highest and the best, because its father is overabundance, but it does not deny its mother, want [continuation of the myth of Eros' birth as represented in the Symposium; in the preface to the penultimate edition, in which "the editor" apologizes to "holy Plato" because "(he) has been severely offended," the Platonic thought of beauty is interpreted in the sense of a recuperation of that "blissful unity" which characterizes "being in the only and most singular sense of the word": this recuperation is a union of the self with the world, with nature]. . . . That highest need of our being pressuring us to supplement nature with a relationship with the immortal within us and to see a spirit in matter, it is love" (1992, 1:514). (I am grateful to my friend Eckart Foerster for pointing out this passage to me.)
As initial, originary love revealed by the critique of religion, by the proof that the "opposition between the divine and the human" is in reality illusory, a contrast in which the difference between the "human being and the human individual" manifests itself, for Feuerbach, love of Man to Man (homo homini deus est) is "the first and supreme rule," the "highest practical principle" indeed: the "turning-point of world history" (1960, 326). Love, a higher power and truth than deity because it overcomes God--the Christian God sacrifices "his divine majesty" to it (65)-founds the unity of humanity that Marx criticizes as "abstraction," as "inner, silent generality linking the numerous individuals naturally" (Thesen uber Feuerbach [on Feuerbach's own resistance to "abstract thinking" and the significance his thinking ascribes to the concept of sensuality, which Marx notably accused of a lack of mediation by social-historical practice, cf. Schmidt 1971]). The hypostatization of man, through which man becomes the object of a "different being," causes this unity to be crossed by a temporary, artificial, and false border or barrier and to be separated from itself. This border creates the secret, the "secret of religion," which Feuerbach's criticism wants to betray by seeking-like all criticism-to separate "the true from the false": "The divine being is nothing but the human being--or rather: the essence of man, separated from the barriers of the individual, i.e., real, physical man--hypostatized, i.e., contemplated and worshipped as a different, individual being; all determinations of the divine being are therefore determinations of the human being" (17). The dismanding of the false barrier is an overcoming of the "barriers of individuality or personality," it makes devoting love to humanity, "universal" love, possible and has then already been made possible by it. Love: power of restitution and restoration, of overcoming and of the unifying pulling down of barriers, frontiers, and limits.
In Schopenhauer, the thing as such, the will that in sexual love works as that unified spirit of mankind to which Nietzsche alludes in his genealogy of common generality, is elevated beyond its appearances and brought back to its basic unity; this is done by compassion--general human love--seeing through the confining principium individuationis. Ultimately, of course, Schopenhauer does not seek the affirmation, but the liberating negation, of will and the quietist entering into nothingness. (18.) Niklas Luhmann employs the term "necessity of the contingent" in his sociological theory in order, for instance, to describe the paradoxical world or the world of the paradoxical in which social systems operate. Luhmann then speaks of the "sociological reconstruction" of a "famous theological problem" and refers to writings on necessity and contingency by Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. The "sociological reconstruction" takes the following form: "Communication and meaning are different ways of creating redundancy. Communication creates redundancy by conferring information to other systems. Third parties, then, have a choice of whom to ask. Meaning creates redundancy by implying a surplus of further possibilities which nobody will be able to follow up all at once. In view of this redundancy which is continuously reproduced by meaning-based communication every next step has to be a selection out of other possibilities. Within the world created by the operations of this system every concrete item appears as contingent, as something that could be different. Societies, therefore, operate within a paradox world, the paradox being the necessity of contingency" (147). (19.) In his book on Nietzsche (1979, 367-70), Karl Jaspers insists that the necessity of the fatum must not be confused with a category that is applicable to causal processes which can be subsumed under laws of nature. The amor fati is not to be a submission to a recognizable and comprehensible necessity. While on the one hand Jaspers points out that the thought of eternal recurrence is itself the strongest and most effective power in the occurrence this thought thinks, he seems, on the other hand, to see the amorfati as a mere complement to the necessity recognized in it. The fact that this paradoxical simultaneity may result from the division of the yes, from the fact that eternal recurrence includes the yes because at the same time it makes eternal recurrence possible, is not developed by Jaspers. (20.) The entry on "Love" in the Historisches Worterbuch der Philosophie deals with the relationship between love and friendship--in a passage on Nietzsche. However, it claims a "doctrine of stages" nowhere expressly set out by Nietzsche himself: "Nietzsche distinguishes three stages of love. At the lower end of the scale is the love that realizes itself in devotion and that he attributes predominantly to women. What follows is the actively creative love that metamorphoses its object with regard to its ideal and that for Nietzsche represents the quintessence of the virile. Therefore, love of the farthest is higher than love of the neighbor. Where this higher, transcending form of love links two people, they exceed their love toward friendship. This friendship consists in a mutual being-oneself, which also sees the opponent and enemy in the friend, and which with regard to the possible degree of friendship also includes great contempt. |All great love does not want love: it wants more'" (319). (21.) The nearness of the love of the neighbor-about which the young Hegel says that it does not mean one should love one's neighbor as much as one loves oneself, "for self-love is a word that does not make sense," but rather that one should love him as someone "whom thou art" (1971, 247; 1970, 1:363)--is consequently based on a veiled asymmetry, if one follows Zarathustra's doctrine. The sacralization of the "older" thou serves the assertion of the I that asserts and reflects itself in the manipulated thou, in the persuaded witness. In both interpretations of the love of the neighbor--in Hegel as well as in Nietzsche--the I at first requires the thou; of course in the one case this need leads to a "life similar to one's own, not a stronger or a weaker one" (Hegel), in the other, to a completion and concealing of the "bad love" of oneself. (22.) Again, this difference is not merely formal: "It is those farther away who must pay for your love of your neighbor; and even if five of you are together, there is always a sixth who must die." (23.) Could we read the famous aphorism on "star friendship" in light of this distance of the originary alter-ation? Or put differently: is it this distancing--in the .active" sense of the word--which contains within itself the possibility of estrangement? "We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did--and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see each other again; perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us. That we have to become estranged is the law above us [ironic allusion to Kant, to the practical law and star-filled firmament, to the-reflecting-interior and exterior of moral philosophy?]: by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other--and the memory of our former friendship more sacred [saying yes to yes-saying, a double yes, yes, yes, to which distance is inscribed and affirmed]. There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts of this path; let us rise up to this thought [including as an effect of double affirmation?]. But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility.--Let us then believe in our star friendship even if we should be compelled to be earth enemies" (1974, 225f; 1981, 2:163f.). (24.) Shall we call a friend the one who gives away a world and thus with it giving and affirmation, given that the world is never something fixed? (25.) What does it mean, then, to understand Nietzsche? In contrast to the generalization of the notion that his thought claims infinite interpretation--this notion can be found in a short lecture, for instance, that Foucault gave on "Nietzsche, Freud, Marx"--and in contrast to the common declaration that after Nietzsche there is only the interpretation of an interpretation as the seizure of a seizure, one must perhaps keep in mind that Nietzsche wants to be understood, too. The preface of Ecce homo starts with the italicized exclamation: "Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else" (1967, 217; 1981, 2:1065). And it ends with the words: "Have I been understood?--Dionysus versus the Crucified--" (1967, 335; 1981, 2:1159). As much as this will to be understood and to make oneself understood resists the clarity of an interpreting understanding or an understanding interpretation-Nietzsche emphasizes that the "pride" of his "instincts" rebels against this will--one will have gained little by trying to see it as a simple trick or illusion. Perhaps one moves neither in the field of pure seizure nor in that of pure understanding and pure communication; perhaps one always moves between understanding and seizure--an "adequate" seizure does not exist--without it being possible to reduce one of the two concepts to the other: an impossible in-between which does not constitute a restrictable and delineatable space in-between. Nietzsche regards being heard and wanting-to-be-heard as "obligation." This "obligation" inevitably depends on the "greatness" of the task he poses himself in Ecce homo. Why, however, does Nietzsche have to face the great task of stating who he is? Why is he obliged to make himself heard correctly? By no means does Nietzsche already know who he is: because he has so far not been understood, because he has so far been mistaken, he "only needs to talk to any |educated person' who comes to the Upper Engadin in summer," so as to convince himself that he does not live. Therefore he asks himself if it is not "a mere prejudice" that he lives, that he "is such and such a person." In order to know who one is, one consequently needs the other who wants to listen and understand. Alterity is constitutive of the who. Saying who I am: perhaps this saying something enabled only by the other, something that does not refer to an already existing and recognized point of reference (to my knowledge about myself) but exists only in that opening which exposes it to the non-objectifiable space between seizure and understanding, perhaps such an utterance would liberate us from suffering (from) the bad infinity in which the will to an identity locks us up-desperate search for an identity, stubborn claim of that to which one wants to hold on at any cost: one's own identity that one believes one has finally found, at once distinguishing us from others and reassuring us of our belonging to others. Neither do I say simply who I am, nor does the other say so; this saying alone, however, which is not the saying of a subject or the saying as subject, the saying as sublation of the opposition-alterity does not simply serve recognition and self-knowledge--gives me the freedom of not having to cling to an identity and to claim my belonging and my difference. Such streams of thought move themselves inevitably in the space between seizure and understanding. . . . Is this in-difference, to which the saying that Nietzsche claims may lead, compatible with the thought of an originary alter-ation as amor fati--as Dionysian affirmation? Isn't this in-difference also inscribed in that creating and being created which never fixes an identity?
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|Title Annotation:||Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche|
|Author:||Duttmann, Alexander Garcia|
|Article Type:||Cover Story|
|Date:||Sep 22, 1993|
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