The Will to Power

Book One: History of European Nihilism
II: Nihilism

§107   Estimated merely for his value for Germany and German culture, Richard Wagner remains a great question mark, perhaps a German misfortune, in any case a destiny: but what does it matter? Isn’t he very much more than merely a German event? It even seems to me that there is no place where he belongs less than Germany: nothing was prepared for him there; his whole type remains simply strange among Germans, odd, uncomprehended, incomprehensible But one is careful not to admit this to oneself: for that one is too kindly, too square, too German. “Credo quia absurdus est”: that is what the German spirit wants and also wanted in this case — and so it believes for the present whatever Wagner wanted people to believe about him. The German spirit has at all times lacked subtlety and divination in psychologicis. Today, under the high pressure of fatherlandism and self-admiration, it is visibly thickening and becoming coarser: how should it be capable of coping with the problem of Wagner!

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Abraham, reconsidered

I rarely find much to like in Rachel Held Evans’ work, but this piece about the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac suggests that she’s growing-up in spite of her Christianity.

“But why would the very God I believe imprinted us all with a conscience—with a deep sense of right and wrong—ask me to deny that conscience by accepting genocide as just?” I asked. “And how could I ever bring myself to worship a God who, if these accounts are true, ordained and derived glory from actions I believe are evil?”

“Stop right there,” the pastor said. “I want you to hear the pride in that statement: ‘how could I ever worship a God who…?’ That is not for you to decide, Rachel. God is God. You worship God because He’s God.”

That sounds like a believable conversation to me, because I’ve heard that obey-obey-obey schtick many times; certainly, it is sufficient to bamboozle the insecure.

Maybe the real test isn’t in whether you drive the knife through the heart.

Maybe the real test is in whether you refuse.

Now we’re getting somewhere, though her read is hardly mainstream Christianity; after all, the Inquisition took ready betrayal of family and friends as proof of rehabilitation.

Even so — yes: At some point, the truth about character is manifest in the ability to say, No. Christianity conspires against character.

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John Dewey, b. 1859-Oct-20

  • Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

  • We only think when confronted with a problem.

  • Scientific principles and laws do not lie on the surface of nature. They are hidden, and must be wrested from nature by an active and elaborate technique of inquiry.

  • The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alteration of old beliefs.

  • A problem well put is half solved.

  • Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.

  • To me faith means not worrying.

  • Man is not logical and his intellectual history is a record of mental reserves and compromises. He hangs on to what he can in his old beliefs even when he is compelled to surrender their logical basis.

  • Anyone who has begun to think, places some portion of the world in jeopardy.

  • Skepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind.

  • Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us. But it has a way of favoring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid.

  • Without some goals and some efforts to reach it, no man can live.

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The Will to Power

Book One: History of European Nihilism
II: Nihilism

§106   Why does German music culminate in the period of German romanticism? Why is Goethe missing in German music? How much Schiller — more precisely, how much “Thekla” — there is in Beethoven!

Schumann has in himself Eichendorff, Uhland, Heine, Hoffmann, Tieck. Richard Wagner has Freischutz, Hoffmann, Grimm, the romantic saga, the mystical catholicism of instinct, symbolism, the “libertinism of passion” (Rousseau’s intent). The Flying Dutchman tastes of France, where le tene’breux was the type of the seducer in 1830.

Cult of music, of the revolutionary romanticism of form. Wagner sums up romanticism, German as well as French —

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How to build a fortune

Call yourself a preacher and use volunteer labor.

“Pay checks alternated each week, one pay from the buffet — 40 hours at $4.25 per hour — then the next week one pay from the church — 40 hours at $4.25 per hour. I was never issued any pay for any work done at WBNX.”

Mulkey said he would never have put up with the situation had he not been caught in the psychological clutches of Ernest Angley.

“I was still mentally and intellectually a child at 21, because of growing up there with a warped sense of reality. They were able to take advantage of me that way.”

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