On the nature of man

What alone can be our doctrine? That no one gives a man his qualities- neither god, nor society, nor his parents and ancestors, nor he himself. No one is responsible for man’s being here at all, for his being is such and such, or for his being in these circumstances or in this environment. The fatality of his existence is not to be disentangled from the fatality of all that has been and will be. Human beings are not the effect of some special purpose or will or end; nor are they a medium through which society can realize an “ideal of humanity.” It is absurd to wish to devolve one’s essence on some end or other. We have invented the concept of “end”; in reality there is no end.

A man is necessary, a man is a piece of fatefulness, a man belongs to the whole, a man is in the whole; there is nothing that could judge, measure, compare or sentence his being, for that would mean judging, measuring, comparing or sentencing the whole. That nobody is held responsible any longer, that the mode of being may not be traced back to a primary cause, that the world does not form a unity either as a sensorium or as spirit that alone is the great liberation. With that idea alone, we absolve our becoming of any guilt. The concept of “god” was until now the greatest objection to existence. We deny god, we deny the responsibility that originates from god; and thereby we redeem the world.

Freidrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

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Nietzsche on architects

The architect by shaping the existential space, modifies the environment in such a way that if gods existed, they would come every so often to consult with us on how we do it, assuming the gods are not omniscient. My lecturers told us so many times that the architect is the leader in the field, that one must have a solution to almost any problem to a point where ones this sinks in, one becomes so to speak on an equal footing with god.

The architect, unlike the physician cannot bury his mistakes. One can only hope for a natural disaster to erase his mistake or a government demolition project. Every architect tries to produce, what to him[her]self is a masterpiece, how many are successful in this endeavor is up to discussion.

The quote below by Nietzsche, can be applied to one of the great American architects, Louis Khan. I find his Exeter Library[ geometrical shapes], Dr. Salk Institute[ lighting], The Kimbell Art Museum[ for how he uses both natural and artificial light] and The Parliament in Dhaka[ space planning, geometry] to be truly beautiful. Having said that, I know appreciation of beauty[whatever that is] is very subjective but I encourage my friends to have a look at the above mentioned buildings.

The architect represents neither a Dionysian, nor an Apollonian state: here it is the great act of will, the will that moves mountains, the frenzy of the great will which aspires to art. The most powerful human beings have always inspired architects; the architect has always been under the spell of power. His buildings are supposed to render pride visible, the victory over gravity, the will to power. Architecture is a kind of eloquence of power in forms – now persuading, even flattering, now only commanding. The highest feeling of power and sureness finds expression in a grand style. The power which no longer needs any proof, which spurns pleasing, which does not answer lightly, which feels no witness near, which lives oblivious of all opposition to it, which reposes within itself, fatalistically, a law among laws- that speaks of itself as a grand style.

The good death

Friends, many of us shudder at the mention of death, and indeed in some cultures I know it is taboo to even mention it. They argue mentioning death spells bad omen. Since, I don’t agree with them, I think death is a good thing and that we can’t live fully if we don’t appreciate the fact that we are here for a brief moment after which we will return to the deep abyss of nothingness from whence we had come. I don’t know about you, but my feeling is that dying is a good thing though I can’t say this authoritatively since I have not experienced death to be able to decisively describe how it feels to die.

In our times, I find Eric at Choice in dying to be one person, there could be many others, who argues for a good death, the philosopher’s death. A death that one chooses the way to die, to put differently, one takes matters into their own hands and become what, for lack of a better word, I will call god. It is this death as Socrates many years before us chose to die rather than to continue living after being sentenced by a jury of his peers for what was called by some of his accusers, corrupting the minds of the young men of Athens. It is the same death Cicero preferred to living as a slave and writes in his letters to his friend Atticus and his brother Quintus while in exile that he’d rather he kills himself if there is no hope of returning to the republic than to live in disgrace.

I find this words of Nietzsche to be agreeable to me in support of a good death, death on our terms.

To die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly. Death freely chosen, a death at the right time, brightly and cheerfully accomplished amid children and witnesses; then a real farewell is still possible, as the one who is taking leave is still there; also a real estimate of what one has achieved and what one has wished, drawing the sum of one’s life- all in opposition to the wretched and revolting comedy that Christianity has made of the hour of death. One should never forget that Christianity has exploited the weakness of the dying for a rape of the conscience and the manner of death itself, for value judgments about man and the past.

Here it is important to defy all the cowardice of prejudice and to establish, above all, the real, that is  the physiological, appreciation of so-called natural death- which is in the end also “unnatural”, a kind of suicide. One never perishes through anybody but oneself  But usually it is death under the most contemptible conditions, an unfree death, death not at the right time, a coward’s death. From love of live, one should desire a different death; free, conscious, without accident, without ambush.